As a series of fronts crossed New Zealand last night many Hawke's Bay residents braced themselves for a long night of wild and windy weather.

Last night MetService issued a weather watch and weather warning for Hawke's Bay as it was expected to bear the brunt of some of the strongest winds in the country overnight.

Strong northwest winds were forecast to precede the fronts while a very strong, cold southwest flow would follow the second front from yesterday through to this afternoon.

MetService meteorologist Josh Griffin said it was expected that west to northwest gales would reach up to 120km/h from late yesterday afternoon through to the early hours of today.


The strongest winds were expected about Wairarapa and Hawke's Bay south of Hastings and heavy rain was expected to fall in the Tararua Ranges.

Mr Griffin said winds of this strength had the potential to cause damage and make driving hazardous; especially for tall-sided vehicles and motorcycles.

"The strong winds could definitely do some damage to trees, power lines and unsecured structures."

He said tonight's overnight could drop as low as 1 degree; setting the region up for a decent frost tomorrow morning.

Unison Networks reported numerous unplanned power outages last night in the Hastings area which left more than 50 customers affected. It was estimated those homes would be without power for up to two hours but one of the outages was fixed within an hour.

Talking from her home in Otane last night, author and storyteller Mary Kippenberger said she was concerned about how her animals would cope in the "awful" weather.

"It's very noisy here because I"ve got a tin roof and things keep falling on it."

Busy baking meringues for a morning tea at Central Hawke's Bay College today, Ms Kippenberger said the weather had made the task "very intense" as she rushed to finish them in case the power went out.

"I'm expecting the power to go out any minute and to wake up tomorrow morning to find trees down," she said.

Further South in Central Hawke's Bay, Mangaorapa Road was blocked last night by a fallen tree which had cut power to nearby homes.