Wellington road closed, businesses evacuated as massive swells cause chaos

Massive swells up to 6 metres in height have smashed up against Wellington's south coast on Wednesday as southwesterly gales push up the country.

MetService has a Heavy Swell Warning in place for Wellington's south coast, from Baring Head to Sinclair Head, warning that between 10am on Wednesday and 3am on Thursday, there could be waves up to 6 metres. 

"Southerly swell of 5.5m, rising to 6m this afternoon. Easing to 5.5m this evening and 4.5m overnight. Swell period about 12 seconds. High tide is at 11:24am this morning and again at 11:48pm this evening. These swells could bring debris and surface flooding to roads about the south Coast of Wellington and Eastbourne, especially around high tide."

Police advise that due to "debris on the road from a high tide and large waves the road to Eastbourne, Wellington" will be closed until further notice. It is closed from Point Howard onwards.

Footage from East Harbour in Wellington shows traffic at a standstill as waves crash up onto the road. In one video, a motorist is seen getting out of their vehicle to remove debris from the road.

Some businesses on Port Rd in the suburb of Seaview have had to evacuate.

All Interislander Cook Strait ferry crossings have been cancelled for the rest of the day.

There are a number of other severe weather warnings in place as southerly gales rip up the country. 

"A deep low lying east of New Zealand continues moving away from the country today," MetService says. "This low directs a strong southerly flow over central and southern New Zealand where Strong Wind Warnings and Watches remain in force."

This includes in Wellington, Wairarapa, Marlborough, Canterbury Plains, and Westland.

There are also Road Snowfall Warnings for Desert Rd, Lewis Pass and Porters Pass.