Wintry blasts cause damage across New Zealand

  • 13/05/2016

Wintry weather has been wreaking havoc across the country overnight, and it is expected to continue into the weekend.

The Rimutaka Hill is now open, after howling winds forced its closure last night. 

About 2000 homes in Wellington were without power overnight. Less than 200 remain without power this morning.

Wintry blasts cause damage across New Zealand

Wild weather at Oriental Bay, Wellington last night (Ulf Fuehrer)

The wind also brought a catamaran smashing into rocks in Wellington's Evans Bay overnight causing considerable damage to it.

The Harbourmaster says it was the only reported incident last night. The owner and salvor have visited the site this morning. 

Wintry blasts cause damage across New Zealand

The catamaran appears to have suffered extensive damage (Newshub.)

State Highway 6 at Haast Pass is closed due to fallen trees.

A severe weather warning is in place with rain and winds threatening the South Island and the lower north.

There'll be more strong winds today, especially on the eastern side of the South Island, while rain continues to batter the West Coast, meteorologist Georgina Griffiths told Paul Henry this morning. 

There's also a small risk of another coastal tornado like yesterday's, she says.

"We had that beautiful warm sunny mild spell and we've gone crash-bang right into autumn. It is a significant system, it's nearly through New Plymouth, it's gone through Wellington, and the worst is over for the South Island."

The New Zealand Transport Agency says 140km/h winds could make driving conditions hazardous in Wellington, Wairarapa and Hawke's Bay.

There has also been surface flooding and a minor rock fall in Central Otago due to heavy rain.

Motorists are being urged to check the roads before travelling.