Both the Napier-Taupo and Napier-Wairoa highways were closed today because of winds which tipped over a truck tailer and a grass fire whipped up by the gusts.
Both were reported to have reopened by mid-afternoon, State Highway 5 having been closed after a trailer overturned about 11am at Windy Gap, dislodging its load of large water storage tanks, and smoke from a fire between Raupunga and Wairoa closing state Highway 2 soon after a call was answered by Fire and Emergency NZ at 1.08pm.
Initial reports of the incident on SH5 indicted the round green tanks were rolling on the highway.
The truck was upright but the whole road was blocked and reopened by 2.30pm, a police spokesperson said.
There were no current wind watch or warning in place for Hawke's Bay but northwesterlies are expected to rise to gale force in exposed places this morning, easing this evening.
Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Authority issued a caution for high sided vehicles and motorcycles travelling along SH2 between Napier and Wairoa.
Fire and Emergency NZ also answered four calls the length of Hawke's Bay in less than three-quarters of an hour in the peaks of the wind early in the afternoon.
A grass fire reported in Central Hawke's Bay at 12.25pm was attended by volunteer firefighters from the Ashley Clinton and Tikokino brigades and the Tamatea Voluntary Rural Fire Force.
The Dannevirke brigade assisted after flashings were reported separating from a building at 12.38pm, and Hastings firefighters were called at 12.46pm to a fire reignited by embers from a burnoff on a rural property, before the first was reported in Northern Hawke's Bay.
Shipping and work at the container terminal at Napier Port were also suspended because of high winds.
A port spokesperson said that 38 knot winds trigger a warning to be prepared to close if it reaches 45 knots.
"Today gusts of up to 55 knots have hit, so we close until conditions improve," the spokesperson said.
Loading of container ship the Antwerp Bridge was paused until the wind strength decreased, meaning its departures, originally scheduled for 9pm Tuesday would be "slightly delayed."
Unison Networks customer relationships manager Danny Gough said about 4pm that more than 400 customers in mainly rural areas around Napier and Hastings were without power because of faults caused by the winds, including fallen poles and fallen lines.
He said about 270 were around Napier, mainly towards State Highway 5, and 160 around Hastings, in areas extending across the district from Middle Rd to Glenross Rd.
He said crews were working to ensure all supply was restored by nightfall, and it was expected that few or any customers would have been without electricity for any longer than three hours.
MetService reported the peak gust at Te Pohue, on State Highway 5 between Napier and Windy Gap, was 96km/h in the hour to 1pm, while Mahia had a peak of 93km/h and the Takapau Plains a peak of 81km/h.
They compared with peaks of 111km/h at Cape Turnagain in the southern extremity of Hawke's Bay, and 135km/h at Remutaka Summit, between Wellington and Wairarapa.
At Hawke's Bay Airport, north of Napier, the highest hourly average wind speed for the day was 44km/h in the hour to 1pm.
The forecast for rural Hawke's Bay for today had been for northwesterlies, rising to gale
in exposed places during the morning and easing in the evening. Hawke's Bay had some of the warmest temperatures and about 1.40pm Hastings was credited with the highest nationwide at 18.3C.
MetService's forecast for tomorrow was for fine weather at first, apart from a possible shower, with "a few showers" spreading north from late afternoon with northwesterlies changing to the southwest, with thunderstorms and hail possible about the coast until evening.