Weather: About 1000 homes without power as gale-force winds thrash Canterbury region

About 1000 homes are without power as gale-force winds, heavy rain and thunder thrash the Canterbury region.

It's been a sleepless night for South Island Fire and Emergency New Zealand (FENZ) crews with lightning strikes sparking several blazes.

MetService still has red warnings in place for the strong winds, which are continuing to bring down trees and powerlines. Meteorologist Raveen Das told Newshub the winds show little sign of letting up, with a top wind speed of 130km/h recorded.

"These winds are expected to produce widespread damage, especially to trees and powerlines and could lift roofs," MetService's red warning says.

"Transport and power networks are likely to be significantly impacted, with road closures and power outages.

"Conditions will be hazardous for motorists and there is a danger to life from flying debris and falling trees or branches."

Heavy rain and strong winds are expected in Canterbury until at least 10am on Monday.

Central Canterbury power authority Orion says work will begin work to restore power at first light.

"Any people who have not yet had power restored this evening should assume they will be without power until tomorrow at the earliest," Orion infrastructure general manager Steve Macdonald said in a statement on Sunday.

"People are warned to treat all lines as live during the outage period as power may be restored at any time," the statement said.

On Sunday evening, Civil Defence urged people to prepare by ensuring guttering is secure, tying things down and bringing pets inside.