Wild weather batters the south

Wild weather batters the south

Windy weather has battered the South Island overnight.

Gusts of wind have grounded helicopters trying to contain a forest fire in the Marlborough region. Around 30 houses have been evacuated but no one has been reported injured.

A second fire has also been reported in the region but is reported to be under control.

The road between Glenorchy and Queenstown has been closed after severe winds caused trees and power lines to fall.

Riverton Racing Club reportedly had its roof ripped off in gale-force winds last night.

Numerous wind-related power outages have occurred including on Banks Peninsula and further south in Wanaka and Dunedin. Power company crews were responding overnight to restore power where possible.

Fire fighters were called to a blaze near Rakaia in Canterbury early this morning, thought to have been started from previous burn-offs in the area. Another fire in Little River, on Banks Peninsula kept firefighters busy as well.

MetService has issued a warning for severe northwesterly gales in exposed places in eastern areas of the South Island. Gusts of 160km/h are expected.

Warnings are being issued for motorcyclists and motorists in high-sided vehicles, who are being urged to take extra care.

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