A witness has described the terrifying moment ferocious winds tore down trees in the central North Island on Tuesday.
Brittany Williams was driving back from Taupō when she came across fallen trees on State Highway 1 between Taupō to Tūrangi.
Video taken by Williams shows the trees creaking, cracking and breaking in the ferocious winds. She told Newshub that being in the middle of it was "pretty scary".
"We can just see massive trees falling down all over the road and stuff, that have blocked us in," Brittany Williams told Newshub.
"There are thousands and thousands and thousands of trees in front of me right now, but I've probably seen a good 30 trees just fall down - massive trees."
On Tuesday afternoon, the NZ Transport Agency said the number of fallen trees had closed the highway between the intersection of SH1 and SH5 (Napier-Taupō Rd) in Taupō and SH1 in Tūrangi.
"Due to several trees down in this area, this section of road is currently closed. Please use an alternative route," it posted to Facebook.
A detour is available via SH32 and SH41, although this will take extra time. Contractors are en route and motorists are asked to follow the detour or avoid the area if possible.
Williams told Newshub that police were bringing in heavy equipment to cut and remove the trees, but the road might remain closed until Wednesday.
Most of the eastern upper North Island was battered by heavy wind and rain overnight, and the bad weather has continued today.
Fire and Emergency told Newshub it received around 30 weather-related call-outs, mostly for downed trees and powerlines.