Strong northwest gales of up to 130km/h around Hawke's Bay brought trees and powerlines down, sent trampolines flying, suspended Napier Port operations, and cut power to hundreds of homes.
Powerlines were brought down along State Highway 2, near Te Hauke, about 11.16am today, temporarily closing SH2 and causing power to be lost to about 234 Unison customers.
A police spokeswoman confirmed that they had been called following reports of a downed tree, power pole and lines on the road about 11.20am.
She said a section of road would be closed with motorists asked to avoid the area and use alternative routes down Te Aute Trust Rd if possible.
Stop and go signals remain in place while power was restored to most homes by 12.30pm and the remainder by 2pm
Unison relationship manager Danny Gough said about 700 homes in Central Hawke's Bay were impacted by seven separate outages today.
About 150 homes in rural areas north of Napier - Puketitiri, Tutira and Putorino - were also impacted by three outages.
"We're still dealing with quite a number of outages in exposed, rural areas," he said.
"Hastings got off pretty lightly."
He thanked customers for their patience as teams worked to restore power under "very challenging conditions".
Power was also cut to 970 homes around Maraenui, Awatoto, Meeanee and Onekawa overnight on Monday about 10.25pm, due to a line coming down.
"We believe that was simply due to the wind coming through the area last night."
He said power was restored to all customers within about half an hour.
It was unfortunate that it was the third power cut in a month for some of those impacted, he said - a conductor issue caused a power cut on April 21 while a possum was believed to have caused another outage on May 11.
"People should be prepared for any unplanned outages as the bad weather hits the region."
Centralines customers between Te Hauke and Waipukurau, and about 60 homes near Porangahau also lost power about 11.35am.
A wind warning is in place for much of Hawke's Bay and Tararua District until late this evening.
Gusts of up to 130 km/h are expected, with drivers urged to take care on the roads, especially in exposed places.
A wind watch is also in place for SH5 north of Napier and parts of inland Hawke's Bay and Gisborne until this afternoon.
MetService meteorologist Angus Hines said peak wind speeds of 133 km/h were recorded on the Takapau Plains about midday.
Cape Kidnappers had a recording of 92 km/h while Napier Airport and Mahia Peninsula both recorded speeds of 85 km/h, he said.
"That's certainly a strong wind.
"It will still be quite breezy on Wednesday but it will gradually ease away."
Firefighters in Waipukurau were kept busy by a "trampoline on the loose" about 11.20am, a Fire and Emergency NZ spokesperson said.
Several trees were reported down along roads all across Central Hawke's Bay, including SH50.
Crews were also called to reports of a truck which had tipped over on SH2 between Norsewood and Dannevirke about 12.20pm.
No one was trapped or injured, she said.
"There's a lot of wind up in Hawke's Bay."
A garden shed and fence which "hadn't stood up to the wind" were also dismantled and secured by fire crews.
A large pine tree that came down north of Tutira on SH2 also caused traffic jams about 6.30am today.
Napier resident Marty Akers said the fallen tree caused about 100 cars to back up on each side, with thousands of pine cones also spread across the road.
Central Hawke's Bay College ceased bus services this afternoon due to weather and safety issues.
Shipping and container terminal operations at Napier Port were also suspended due to high winds.
The port ceases operation if winds reach 45 knots, with gusts of up to 48 knots recorded.
"We close until conditions improve, meaning no machines are operating on-site and no trucks will be allowed entry," a port spokesperson said.