Saturday, November 27

Power outages affect thousands of people in Canterbury due to high winds

Hurricane force winds are wreaking havoc in parts of Canterbury this afternoon, with power outages in thousands of homes.

High winds in the Glentui area of ​​Canterbury toppled trees.  Birch Hill Rd, Glentui.

Strong winds in the Glentui area of ​​Canterbury downed trees on Friday.
Photo: RNZ / Nate McKinnon

Lines company Alpine Energy said there is no power at Arundel, Geraldine, Peel Forest and Four Peaks.

There is also electricity in 200 homes in downtown Canterbury, in Glenroy, Hororata, Lake Coleridge, Rakaia Gorge and Windwhistle.

High winds are believed to have helped cause an accident near Herbert in North Otago just after noon that involved two vehicles, including one towing a trailer.

Five people were taken to the hospital, three in serious condition and two with moderate injuries.

Fire & Emergency Shift Manager Andrew Norris said it has been a busy afternoon.

“We’ve helped out on a couple of properties where we’ve been tearing down a bit of a loose roof,” Norris said.

“We have not had any significant damage, although we have had a couple of small sheds and things that have been totally destroyed by the wind around Mosgiel.”

Earlier today, MetService raised its severe weather alert to a rare red warning for Canterbury High Country and the foothills from this afternoon until tomorrow.

He predicted strong northwesterly winds would hit the area, just 48 hours after gales cut power, sparked wildfires and toppled trees in the same area overnight Thursday through Friday.

Fire and Emergency has also warned people to prepare for the strong gales that will hit most of Canterbury.

Canterbury assistant area manager Mike Johns said the storm will be stronger than the gales of two days ago.

People are asked not to light fires outdoors, check to see if old fires are completely out, secure all loose furniture and trampolines, and avoid non-essential travel.

The last winds could reach 160 km / h in exposed parts, MetService said.

Red warnings are reserved for only the most extreme weather events where significant impact and disruption can be expected, MetService said in a statement.

A fire fueled by high winds in Glentui, Canterbury.

A fire fueled by high winds at Glentui in Canterbury two days ago.
Photo: RNZ / Nate McKinnon

The damaging winds are linked to a cold front expected to move up the South Island today and early tomorrow. It is scheduled to arrive in Wellington and Wairarapa overnight.

These winds are likely to cause widespread damage to the Canterbury High Country and hills, especially to trees and power lines.

MetService expert meteorologist Hordur Thordarson said: “Significant impacts on transport and power grids are also expected, with road closures and power outages likely.”

It also indicates that driving conditions would be dangerous and motorists should beware of falling trees or branches and flying debris.

The rest of the eastern South Island is under an orange warning, including the Canterbury and Christchurch Plains, which could also see damaging gales tonight through tomorrow morning.

The public is asked to follow the advice of local Civil Defense and Emergency Management groups.

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