Wild windy weather causes havoc in lower South Island

Delayed flights, downed trees and power outages are affecting South Island residents in a number of regions this evening.

Queenstown Lakes and Central Otago appear to have been hit the hardest, with severe wind gusts and heavy rain having caused widespread damage and leaving about 4200 homes and businesses without power. 

Energy provider Aurora says response crews have been mobilised and they are working to repair damage where possible.

Earlier this evening, all flights into and out of Queenstown were delayed after wind speed at the airport was recorded at 78km/h, with gusts of 106km/h.

Queenstown Airport spokesperson Jen Andrews said airlines each have their own minimum and maximum wind speeds for flying.

One airline can't fly if they have a cross-wind of more than 25 knots and the wind the airport is experiencing right now is much more than that, she said.

The high winds have also brought down two large trees on Speargrass Flat Road near Lake Hayes.

Police initially said the road closed as a result.

Fire and Emergency NZ dealt with a number of call-outs in the area, including a power pole fire in Frankton.

There were also reports of a tree down on Earnscleugh Road, near Alexandra, which will cause traffic delays.

Police said the windy conditions were making driving dangerous, especially for high-sided vehicles and motorcycles.

Motorists are asked to take extra care while driving and be alert to the changing conditions.

List of road closures:


- Glenorchy Road is closed at Bob's Cove until further notice due to fallen trees and powerlines.

- Speargrass Flat Road, between Hunter and Domain Road will remain closed overnight.

Central Otago:

- Earnscleugh Road closed Between Chapman and Conroys Road – Trees & power lines

- Chapman Road caution advised, teams working on fallen trees.

Trees down on Speargrass road in Lower Shotover Queenstown. Source: 1 NEWS