Brutal gale-force winds are howling across the southern half of the country today, with Wellington coastal residents being warned to prepare for giant seas tomorrow.
Fierce winds in southernmost districts have toppled trees on to powerlines leaving settlements without power.
Motorists are being warned to take care on the region's highways with the high winds expected to be hazardous.
MetService has issued a number of strong wind warnings and watches for much of the South Island and southern parts of the North Island.
Storm-force winds up to 130km/h are barreling Southland and Otago with gales reaching Wellington and the Wairarapa later this afternoon.
Forecasters are warning potentially damaging gusts could whip up to 120km/h in Dunedin today and a frightening 130km/h in exposed parts of South Otago until 8pm.
The New Zealand Transport Agency is advising drivers travelling on SH87 between Outram and Kyeburn to be extra vigilant on the road.
Powernet said electricity was out in Dacre and Woodlands due to falling trees. It was also investigating a number of other outages across the region.
But while the windy weather passes over the South Island today, it's the mountainous seas in Cook Strait expected to pummel the bottom of the North Island that are posing a threat tomorrow.
A heavy swell warning has been issued for Wellington's southern coast.
Seas up to 4.5m high - the size of a single storey home - are expected to hit between Baring Head to Sinclair Head at 13 second intervals across the day.
The Wellington Region Emergency Management Office is urging residents on the coast to have an up-to-date household plan.
MetService says southerly swells would rapidly rise from 8am until 11pm with the highest risk coming at tomorrow morning's high tide.