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Source: MetService

Covering period of Saturday 14th – Monday 16th October – MetService has issued a RED Warning for Strong Winds for the Canterbury High Country, and the Canterbury Plains, and Christchurch, including Banks Peninsula. The warning goes until 5:00 PM today (Saturday), with widespread significant and damaging winds expected. A RED Warning is the highest alert level that MetService has, and is issued only for the most severe weather situations when significant impacts and disruptions are expected.

MetService meteorologist Mmathapelo Makgabutlane says: “A low moves east across the South Island today, and wind gusts of 150 km/h are expected in parts of the Canterbury High Country and Canterbury Plains. Wind gusts of 150 to 200 km/h have already been measured in some exposed areas, and Christchurch has had average winds of gale speeds (65 km/h). These winds are expected to continue for this afternoon.”  

These significantly strong, gusty winds could bring widespread damage, potentially toppling trees, affecting powerlines and could lift roofs or damage fencing. Transport and power networks are likely to be significantly impacted, with road closures and power outages. Conditions will be hazardous for motorists, especially those with high sided vehicles, and there is a danger to life from flying debris and falling trees or branches.  

“People are advised to take care and to stay up to date with the latest information on and to follow the advice of their local authorities,” Makgabutlane says.

The strongest winds ease later on Saturday evening. The winds pick up again on Sunday, and while it will be another very windy day and the appropriate preparation should be made, wind speeds are not expected to be as strong as they will be today.

For media enquiries or to arrange an interview with one of our meteorologists please call 04 4700 848 or email

Understanding MetService Severe Weather Warning System

Severe Thunderstorm Warnings (Localised Red Warning) – take cover now:

This warning is a red warning for a localised area.
When extremely severe weather is occurring or will do within the hour.
Severe thunderstorms have the ability to have significant impacts for an area indicated in the warning.
In the event of a Severe Thunderstorm Red Warning: Act now!

Red Warnings are about taking immediate action:

When extremely severe weather is imminent or is occurring
Issued when an event is expected to be among the worst that we get – it will have significant impact and it is possible that a lot of people will be affected
In the event of a Red Warning: Act now!

Orange Warnings are about taking action:

When severe weather is imminent or is occurring
Typically issued 1 – 3 days in advance of potential severe weather
In the event of an Orange Warning: Take action.

Thunderstorm Watch means thunderstorms are possible, be alert and consider action

Show the area that thunderstorms are most likely to occur during the validity period.
Although thunderstorms are often localised, the whole area is on watch as it is difficult to know exactly where the severe thunderstorm will occur within the mapped area.
During a thunderstorm Watch: Stay alert and take action if necessary.

Watches are about being alert:

When severe weather is possible, but not sufficiently imminent or certain for a warning to be issued
Typically issued 1 – 3 days in advance of potential severe weather.
During a Watch: Stay alert

Outlooks are about looking ahead:

To provide advanced information on possible future Watches and/or Warnings
Issued routinely once or twice a day
Recommendation: Plan