Wind, heat hit South Island

  • 07/10/2015
Wind, heat hit South Island

You may be forgiven for not knowing what season it currently is in the South Island.

While residents in Christchurch are facing an unseasonally warm day, most of the south is in for a battering by massive winds.

Temperatures in the city are expected to reach nearly 27degC, before being pounded by 140km/h winds in the afternoon.

Police say dust storms created by high winds mean visibility on State Highway 1 around the Dunsandel/Rakaia area is "almost zero". Motorists have been asked to avoid the area.

According to MetService, residents woke to temperatures of nearly 20degC.

South of Christchurch, Timaru was sitting on a high of 28C around midday, while Dunedin residents also enjoyed the warmer temperatures, with a high of 27degC.

A "vigorous warm northwest flow" was sweeping over the country and would pass in the afternoon, MetService said.

Meanwhile, it has put in place severe weather warnings for Southland, Clutha and Otago, predicting 140km/h winds.

Queenstown Airport was reporting 90km/h gusts, forcing the cancellation and delays of flights in and out of the town.

A number of flights at three South Island airports have been temporarily postponed or cancelled because of strong winds.

Dunedin, Queenstown and Invercargill airports have all cancelled or postponed flights due to the high winds lashing the South Island today.

Most flights that were already airborne have been diverted to Christchurch Airport. 

A large fire in Central Otago kept the Fire Service busy in the morning, burning through 90 hectares of scrub.

Although the fire had been contained, strong winds were preventing helicopter crews from fighting the blaze, creating fears the wind could further fan the flames.

Another fire near Akaroa, in Canterbury, had burned through 4500sq m of land earlier in the day, but had been extinguished, a spokesman said.

The warmest temperature in Christchurch so far this spring has been 24degC.