Falling trees have closed roads, destroyed garden sheds, and left thousands of homes without electricity as strong winds hit the south and ignited fires overnight.
Although it was likely that the worst weather for the south had passed, strong storms were expected to move northward later Friday, affecting Wellington and Virarpa.
A police spokesman said strong winds had caused several locations in Canterbury, including State Highway 1 and State Highway 79, where fallen trees had partially blocked roads.
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Kevin Barbara, a spokesman for Fire and Emergency New Zealand (FENS), said crews had been receiving calls about strong winds in Canterbury and Otago since around 10pm on Thursday.
Overnight, he said, crews from Dunedin and surrounding areas set fire to a forest on Three Mile Hill on the outskirts of Dunedin and another at Cape Sanders near Porto Bello.
The crew then turned their attention to parts of Otago, north of Dunedin, and Canterbury, while the front moved overnight to the South Island.
By 6:30 a.m., Fans had 30 crew members responding to 10 forest fires from South Canterbury to Hornoi, Barbara said.
“The largest is currently burning in the Glantoi area of Vimakri district. So far the only report of damage to the structure is a grass shed.
A spokesman for Fenz said weather-related jobs on the South Island had begun to ease since 8.30am and staff had focused on six major forest fires.
The most important was a scrub fire on Birch Hill Road in the Glentoi area, where nine crew members were fighting the blaze.
It is not yet known how big it was, but it was burning through the fields.
He said crews were also being called in on reports of wind damaging roofs and sending a trampoline flying into a caravan in Ashburton.
Roads closed due to fallen trees and debris are making it difficult for firefighters to reach some of the fire sites in rural areas.
Meteorologist Mamtapello McGabotlin of the Met Service said the night’s strong winds were caused by a front in the country.
At approximately 6.30 a.m., a maximum speed of 126 km / h was recorded in Sugarloaf on Christchurch’s Port Hills.
Winds of 124 kilometers per hour were recorded in Coro, Otago, and inland and 120 kilometers per hour in Canterbury.
In Temaro, winds reached 107 kilometers per hour, Springfield 111 kilometers per hour, Ashburton 100 kilometers per hour, Omaru 89 kilometers per hour and North Canterbury District Hornoi 105 kilometers per hour.
The McGuinness battalion said most areas of central and northern Canterbury had experienced light to moderate light by 7 a.m. and further easing was expected throughout the day.
The hurricane is expected to hit Wellington and Virarpa late Friday and throughout the day.
Debris left in the wake of the winds has forced the closure of Darfield Primary and High School in Salon, as well as Grendel School, south of Darfield.
Damage caused by strong winds has left thousands of homes without electricity.
Prior to 7 a.m., about 2,500 Oren customers were without power, mainly in central Canterbury, North Canterbury and Christchurch.
Orion spokeswoman Linda McGregor said staff were dealing with 19 separate blockades, mainly in the Hororata, Darfield and Sheffield areas.
All the disruptions were caused by strong winds that threw trees and other plants over power lines.
McGregor said Orion crews have been investigating the closure since the first light and subcontractors were called in to help, but some repairs will have to wait until dangerous high winds subside.
Orion was expecting the majority of consumers to get their electricity back by the end of Friday.
According to the Manpower website, only 6,700 homes across Canterbury lost power at around 8.30am.
A spokesman for the Vimakri District Council said contractors were tackling several trees on roads across the district. The council has also received reports of power lines falling in the Maine of Customs.
The Oxford Library and Service Center was closed Friday morning due to a power outage.
“Although strong winds persist, it is not always safe for contractors to remove debris, and they will not have marks due to the risk of being blown away,” a council spokesman said.
“So please take extra precautions on the roads, keep an eye on emergency vehicles and take care of the gusts of wind while traveling.”
State Highway 7 was closed at the turn-off of Springs Junction due to falling trees.
State Highway 1, near Dominion Road, just south of Temuka, was also blocked from falling trees.
There was also an SH77 between Mount Hut and Windsor, near Whiteman’s RD.
On the North Island, wind blew up a truck and trailer, blocking the southbound lane of State Highway 2 near Mount Bruce at 4:35 p.m. No one was injured in the incident.
A falling tree was stopping SH2 Remotica Hill Rd shortly after 6.35am.
Fans spokesman Mike Vanua said Northern Fire crews had been “reasonably busy but not over” since midnight with 11 wind-related calls in the Virarpa area.
He was receiving reports of power lines and falling trees, and was also attending a call about an unsafe roof iron at 7.40am.
No injuries were reported.