Wild weather lashes the North Island

The energy company desperately trying to restore power to 15,000 Auckland homes after Saturday night's wild weather is hopeful around 5000 will be back on the grid early this afternoon. 

Vector spokesperson Minoru Frederiksen says they're making progress, and they're starting to see "a reasonable amount" of customers with power. 

Mr Frederiksen told Newshub earlier today the storm was "unexpected", and had caused "a bit of havoc" across the city, with lines down and outages across the area.  

He said crews were stretched to capacity today, as they had to be stood down last night due to unsafe conditions. 

"Power will start to get progressively restored from midday and throughout the afternoon. I expect some will stil be out by 5'o clock, but we're trying to get it back as quickly and safely as possible."

Power lines down on Marsden Ave in Mt Eden (Supplied/Bruce Bonnar)
Power lines down on Marsden Ave in Mt Eden (Supplied/Bruce Bonnar)

The lower North Island and coastal South Island is expected to bear the brunt of the storm this afternon. A MetService spokesperson told Newshub that residents in Dunedin and Banks Peninsula should expect to get caught in gale force south-west winds as low pressure passes over the South Island. 

Wild winds lashed Auckland and the upper North Island overnight, with a 40-year old-man seriously injured after wind blew a large tree onto his vehicle on the Southern Motorway just before 10pm on Saturday. He is now in a stable condition. 

Emergency services were called to the scene, where fire crews worked to extricate the trapped victim. 

Six others in the car were also hurt, with two suffering moderate injuries. All were taken to Middlemore Hospital. 

Emergency crews have also been kept busy with multiple trees and power lines being brought down by strong winds in the city, and further north.

Fire communications shift manager Colin Underdown says they had an influx of calls between 11:30pm and 1:30am. 

"In the Auckland region we had around 160 weather-related incidents, including trees down, lines down, trampolines on the move and loose debris." 

Andy Downs from MetService told RadioLIVE this morning the gusts are the result of "a very intense" low pressure system crossing the country. 

Last night wind speeds at Auckland airport were recorded at 100km an hour, while Wellington and the central North Island were seeing gusts at around 140km an hour. 

Mr Downs said they're expecting gales in many areas around the country today, with strong wind warnings from Gisbourne and Taranaki down to Wellington, as well as around Kaikoura and Canterbury. 

However he said they're not expecting winds that will cause any more damage in the Auckland area. Aucklanders can expect a "blustery, westerly day", but not as bad as the rest of the country.