A Hastings man narrowly missed colliding with a truck when high winds on Thursday blew his caravan off the road near Norsewood, the impact destroying it.
Smile Caravans owner Bob Spiekerman said he was towing the caravan from his business near Clive to a customer in Palmerston North just after 2pm when a huge gust of wind hit.
"It blew the whole caravan sideways," he said.
"Luckily it didn't take the car with it, it broke off at the caravan's A frame but the car was nearly sideways as well."
At the same time a large truck was bearing down on him.
"They were braking and we ended up stopped only about a metre apart - a couple of seconds more and we would have hit."
He immediately called the police and he said a lot of people stopped to help clear away all the debris and move the caravan from the driveway it was blocking.
The police were set to return on Friday morning and remove the caravan.
Later on Thursday the winds picked up in Central Hawke's Bay, gusting up to 120km/h, and keeping emergency services busy from about 5pm to 7pm.
Waipukurau chief fire officer Glen Millar said they responded to six callouts to roofs lifting, which they secured, a trampoline blown across to a neighbouring property, which they tied to a tree, and two chimney fires.
"These fires were caused by the wind sucking the flames further up the flue - it's a reminder to people to make sure their chimneys are clean," he said.
They also responded to a tree that had come down on a house, but caused minimal damage, and tidied up bits of iron and other debris that were flying around.
He said it could have been a lot worse, but fortunately on the whole people had obviously ensured loose items were tied down.
Otane chief fire officer John Oliver said the brigade had two crews out responding to about eight calls that they received.
These included trees falling on power lines, and they cleared a tree that fell over on the road near the Te Aute pub.
"It was quite a frightening wind and we had to be careful - even getting in and out of the appliance, the wind was threatening to wrench the doors off."
It was a similar scenario for the Waipawa brigade who were called out several times between 5pm and 9pm, said chief fire officer Willy Christall.
"It was the usual drama with high winds - trees fell over, roofs were lifting and a fence was blown down near a house, and there was a chimney fire."
Trees falling on lines led to a busy afternoon for local electricity lines company Centralines as well, said lines foreman Ngahere Heremaia.
There were incidents across the district from Otane to Tikokino, causing temporary power outages and flickering lights.
A longer power outage on the outskirts of Waipukurau occurred at about 6am on Friday after a tree fell on lines.
Although it came back on at about 7.30am, Centralines crews were still working on it through the morning.
Although most of the district was buffeted, the Takapau plains area, which is usually the most prone to high winds, escaped the worst of it with no callouts to the local brigade.