Weather: Roofs ripped off, trees torn down in Canterbury amid severe wind warnings

Fire crews are responding across Canterbury as damaging winds rip off roofs, topple trees and down powerlines.

A Fire and Emergency NZ (FENZ) spokesperson said there's been a surge in 111 calls across the region, with over 25 responses underway by 1:45pm on Saturday.

Footage sent to Newshub shows part of the roof at the Southern Cross Christchurch Hospital on Bealey Ave lifting off in the wind.

Weather: Roofs ripped off, trees torn down in Canterbury amid severe wind warnings
Photo credit: Fergus Macdonald / Supplied

Another video shows an Emirates A380 almost sideways during an aborted attempt to land at Christchurch airport.

Crews are also responding to six vegetation fires from Ashburton to Ashley fanned by the wind, while in central Christchurch crews were called to help people in a car hit by a falling tree.

Earlier on Saturday, MetService issued a severe wind warning for the Canterbury High Country, Canterbury Plains, and Christchurch including Banks Peninsula until 5pm. 

"These winds are expected to produce widespread damage, especially to trees and powerlines and could lift roofs," it said on Facebook.

"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."

MetService has also issued orange strong wind warnings for Marlborough and Wellington.

A later graphic shows wind gusts from around the South Island - with the highest recorded a staggering 204km/h at Le Bons Bay.

FENZ advises people to avoid unnecessary travel, especially in high-sided vehicles like trucks and campervans. People should also tie down loose outdoor items like trampolines and ensure all previous fires have been properly extinguished. No new fires should be lit at this time.

Always call 111 immediately if life or property is at risk.