Winds cause power cuts in Q'town, Central

High winds and tree branches felled power lines causing over 1500 Aurora customers in Queenstown and Central Otago to lose electricity.

Aurora Energy spokesman Gary Johnson said power had been restored to all customers by 4.30 this afternoon.

Strong winds and tree branches were to blame for the outage, however there were no reports of power poles being affected in Alexandra, Mr Johnson said.

"Following a routine pole inspection, power was turned off to 90 customers in Wanaka for around 3 hours after midday to allow crews to safely replace a power pole.

"We will continue to monitor the situation overnight and our response crews will attend as required."

The NZTA had also issued a warning for motorists.

MetService has issued a strong wind warning which covers most of the south of the South Island until 3am tomorrow.

As of just after 3pm Alexandra was the windiest place in New Zealand with gusts of up to 67kmh.

This afternoon the NZ Transport Agency had warnings in place for motorists travelling on SH1 between Mosgiel and Gore, SH85 from Palmerston to Alexandra, SH87 from Kyeburn to Mosgiel and SH90 from Raes Junction to Willowbank.

The NZTA said strong winds meant extra care was required, especially for high sided vehicles, campervans and motorcycles.

A Fire and Emergency New Zealand spokesman said it was called out at 2.30pm after strong winds downed power lines on Marshall Rd in Alexandra.

The situation there was already under control and contractors for Aurora Energy were at the scene.

The wind had also made fighting a fire this afternoon in a hedge near Gore Golf Club difficult.

Firefighters had contained the fire, but remained on the scene because embers were being blown "all over the place".

MetService said northwest gales were forecast to be severe at times, with gusts reaching 120kmh in exposed places.

The warning covers all of east coast of the South Island below the Rakaia River in Canterbury.

Winds were expected to turn westerly in Clutha, Southland and Fiordland south of Doubtful Sound this afternoon.,

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