- Publish Date
- Thursday, 8 September 2016, 8:13AM
Ferry sailings across the Cook Strait are cancelled today as monster swells whipped up by ferocious weather make the crossing too dangerous.
The Interislander and Bluebridge ferry services are the latest casualties of the wild storm that has roared up the country overnight bringing hurricane-force winds, cutting power to hundreds of homes and injuring two people after a tree came down on a car near Christchurch.
Snow has fallen across Otago, Canterbury and parts of the North Island causing a number of road closures including the Desert and Rimutaka Hill Rds. There are reports of snow flurries in Wellington.
Both passenger ferry services linking the two islands says they are not accepting bookings for sailings until Saturday because of rough seas.
The NZ Transport Agency announced just after 5.30am that State Highway 1's Desert Rd from Turangi to Waiouru was closed because of snow and ice.
MetService forecaster Peter Little said the country was in for a bitterly cold day with snow and winds continuing to pound the north.
Hurricane-force winds and gusts of more than 160km/h slammed Canterbury overnight, and the Port Hills got the full brunt of it.
About 1100 homes around Christchurch remain without power this morning after powerlines were downed in the powerful winds.
Blustery, strong winds continue to batter the North Island and the MetService forecasts snow to fall on central regions today. Emergency services say although it's horrible outside there have been no calls for help so far.
St John paramedics were called to Tai Tapu, a suburb south of Christchurch, at 8.21pm, where two people had moderate injuries after a tree came down, a St John spokesman said.
They were taken to Christchurch Hospital.
Trees and power lines are down in Canterbury and Otago because of the wild weather and a catamaran has capsized in Macandrew Bay on the Otago Peninsula.
More than 2000 houses in Canterbury and hundreds in the Dunedin region are without power.
The Aurora Energy network was cut in 120km/h winds yesterday, leaving 380 customers on the Otago Peninsula from Harwood to Taiaroa Head shivering around 4.30pm. Power was later restored but 251 homes are without power in Christchurch.
A company spokesman warned people should be ready for the possibility of more power cuts as the severe weather continued.
A large tree was bought down on Gt King St near Dunedin's Botanic Garden and a tree on Dr's Point Rd was also bought down.
Wellington experienced gusts of up to 85km/h, according to WeatherWatch head analyst Philip Duncan.
Winds were expected to pick up overnight with gusts to 120km/h possible.
Read more at NZ Herald