Road users on SH1 north of Amberley, North Canterbury, are advised to delay their journeys after a truck blew onto its side.
Strong winds have caused chaos across the country on Thursday, blowing over a truck on a Canterbury highway and forcing regional flights to Wellington to abandon landing.
State Highway 1 south of Waipara closed shortly after 10.40am after a truck and trailer carrying water tanks was blown onto its side, south of the turn off to Lewis Pass. It reopened just before midday.
Waka Kotahi said efforts were made to move the truck off the highway, but it fully blocked all four lanes at the time.
“Traffic crews are hoping to get a Stop/Go set up shortly to enable drivers to move around the truck, but in the meantime, people should anticipate delays at this part of the highway and avoid the area if possible,” it said.
In Wellington, Air New Zealand flight NZ5813 from Hamilton was forced to give up and redirect to Palmerston North.
A reader who was walking the dog at Lyall Bay told Stuff they saw flights looking “very hairy” as they approached the airport.
“The first time it got within a few feet but looked horrific, the second one was a bit higher up but also looked terrifying,” they said.
A spokesperson for Wellington Airport confirmed that NZ5813 as well as another flight from Christchurch had been forced to redirect after twice failing to land due to high winds.
Wellington Airport’s arrivals board shows another flight from Blenheim was delayed while two flights operated by Sounds Air have been cancelled. At least one flight from Wellington to Christchurch has also been cancelled.
Warnings for wind, rain and snow are in place for parts of the country.
Metservice had been warning of 120kph winds around Cook Straight throughout Thursday, affecting the Wellington region and Marlborough Sounds. That’s strong enough to damage trees and power lines, the forecaster warned.
It has issued a further “severe weather watch” with new snowfall warnings in Canterbury for Lindis Pass, Haast Pass, Arthur’s Pass and Lewis Pass.
Heavy snow watches in Otago, Southland, Fiordland and Queenstown and Lakes have been extended through to Friday morning.
Waka Kotahi has warned of an avalanche hazard on the road to Milford Sound, between the Hollyford Road turn-off and the Donne River Bridge, and has asked motorists to adhere to “no stopping” signage.
The “general warning” was issued around 7am. Waka Kotahi has also said snow clearing equipment will be operating, and the road will be closed overnight on Thursday evening.
Fiordland and Southland, as well as Stewart Island, have also been told to watch out for north-west winds which may approach severe gales in exposed places.
Meanwhile, Canterbury High Country has been warned that strong wind gusts are likely to damage trees, power lines and unsecured structures.
Metservice is anticipating gusts of 120kph in exposed places. Gale force north-west winds are likely to remain in exposed places until Thursday evening.
Heavy rain warnings are in place for much for Westland, north of Otira.
Heavy rain may cause streams and rivers to rise rapidly, while surface flooding and slips are also possible, Metservice warns.
Looking towards the weekend, MetService is forecasting mostly fine weather for the North Island on Saturday, with isolated showers in the east. Fine weather is also expected on Sunday apart from rain developing in the far north.
For the South Island it is expected to be mostly fine with isolated showers in the south on Saturday and mainly fine with a few showers developing in Fiordland and Stewart Island on Sunday.
Severe Tropical Cyclone Lola has been downgraded to a Category 4 storm, but continues to wreak havoc on Vanuatu, the Fiji Meteorological Service said on Wednesday.
Metservice has previously said some weather from the cyclone might be felt towards the end of the weekend in the Far North.