Easter holidaymakers heading home today are urged to drive with caution as strong winds continue to batter the lower North Island and eastern parts of the South Island.
A strong wind warning has been issued for the Tararua district and Wairarapa north of Masterton.
Severe gales could reach up to 120km/h in exposed places, according to Metservice.
Strong wind gusts could damage trees, powerlines and unsecured structures, it warns.
Drivers of high-sided cars and motorcyclists are urged to be cautious, especially on State Highway 2/Remutaka Hill Rd.
A strong wind watch is in place for Wellington and south of Masterton.
Winds are expected to ease this afternoon around 2pm.
Motorists are urged to take extra car on the roads as strong winds blast parts of Central Hawke's Bay also.
Police units patrolling the plains issued a warning for those travelling through the region, having noted strong winds.
In the South Island gusts could reach 130km/h in exposed places in Canterbury High Country.
Driving may be hazardous, MetService said.
The winds have caused headaches for firefighters battling a forestry plantation blaze near the Canterbury town of Fairlie, which broke out around midday yesterday.
Strong winds stopped helicopters from flying.
Meanwhile a strong wind watch has been issued for Marlborough, Christchurch, North Otago, Dunedin, Southern Fiordland, coastal Southland and Stewart Island.
Winds may reach severe gales in these regions.
Despite the gusts, temperatures are set to soar in the South Island today.
Christchurch and Ashburton all recorded 26C at 9am.
Timaru takes out the hottest temperature of the country at 27C.