15 Nov 2014

Strong winds shake New Zealand

9:29 pm on 15 November 2014

Strong winds in North Canterbury have lifted roofs of houses and blown a campervan on its side and are now buffeting parts of the North Island.

A campervan blew over in strong wind this morning on a road north of Kaikoura.

Strong winds blew over a campervan, trees and power lines, and lifted roofs in North Canterbury, emergency services said. Photo: Kaikoura Cheese / Twitter

The MetService said winds in Kaikoura reached speeds of 124 kilometres per hour between 7am and 8am.

Kaikoura dairy goat farmer Daniel Jenkins said he was driving north to Blenheim when he came across tourists who had been driving a camper van flipped over by severe winds.

He said the couple were not hurt.

Mr Jenkins said there was a lot of debris on the road, roofs ripped off houses, powerlines damaged, and driveways covered by fallen trees.

A small tornado in Greymouth also ripped the roof of a woman's garage and damaged two cars in her neighbour's driveway.

Shona Preston said she was sound asleep about 5.15am when she heard a roar and a bang outside her house.

She said she saw the window of her conservatory had been broken, and her neighbour's two cars had been shifted down his driveway by the tornado, which lasted no more than five minutes.

Winds cut power

Lines company Orion said customers in central Canterbury lost power this morning after trees were blown over, damaging power lines and poles.

Strong wind in North Canterbury blew off roofs and blew over a campervan today.

A sign blown down by the winds Photo: Kaikoura Cheese / Twitter

Its operations manager, Stu Kilduff, said there were two main poles damaged inland around Darfield, which affected the majority of customers.

He said 4500 properties lost power when failures began early this morning but now only about 500 customers were without electricity.

He said power should be fully restored from late afternoon to early evening.

Winds move north

MetService was warning severe gales in Hawkes Bay could lift roofs and cause damage to trees and powerlines.

Gales of up to 120 kilometres an hour were expected to continue south of Napier, but should ease overnight.

MetService said driving conditions could be hazardous in vehicles like caravans and motorbikes and warns unsecured objects in the back yard could be lifted.

MetService said strong winds had eased in Wairarapa, Wellington and Marlborough.

A front over the upper North Island was moving northwards.

It said the worst of the winds in Canterbury were over, but there were still severe wind warnings in place for Marlborough.

Snow warnings were also in place for Lindis Pass and Milford Road overnight.

MetService said snow showers are possible for Lindis Pass in the next few hours.

On Milford Road, snow showers are possible above 700 metres and up to one centimetre may fall near the Homer Tunnel overnight.