Heavy rain and strong winds are making life difficult for Wellingtonians returning to their workplaces and businesses for the first time since yesterday's major earthquake.

Several roads in the city remain closed because of the risk of falling debris and glass, and rain is pouring into windows broken in the quake.

Featherston St is completely cordoned off, and there is a heavy police presence preventing people from entering the most dangerous areas.

Rail services are limited, and traffic is at a near-standstill in parts of downtown. Police are now urging commuters to avoid any non-urgent travel.

Weni Ling's store Mama Sushi, on Customhouse Quay, is on the edge of one of the worst-hit parts of the city.

Her store was undamaged in the quake, but she is worried about further quakes.

"This building is very new so we're okay," she said. "I have been in New Zealand 16 years and this is the most awful [earthquake]."

"We are thinking of moving now, maybe to Auckland, somewhere with less earthquakes. Especially in the city, the business in Wellington cannot open.

"And we are just worried about the big earthquake. My kids are a little bit worried."

Read More: The aftermath

Alison Zikonda says bad weather is adding
Alison Zikonda says bad weather is adding "insult to injury" after the quakes. Photo / Isaac Davison

Alison Zikonda, who owns Monsignor Antiques in central Wellington, said the poor weather was "adding insult to injury" after the quake.

Her store was relatively unscathed. She had learned from previous quakes and fixed all her shelves to the walls with steel braces.

"All of these valuable mirrors and things, and not one broke," she said. "So somebody's looking after me."

Zikonda says she is prepared for the "big one". She has blankets, duvets, food supplies and in her store has even attached a butcher's hook onto a rope "so if I'm stuck under furniture I can hook it onto something and pull myself out".

"I tell the neighbours to do the same but they never listen."