Shipping containers have been blown into the Bluff harbour as severe weather hits Southland.
A stevedore said several 40ft containers, which were in a stack of five high, had blown over, some falling into the water.
It is believed about 10 were in the water.
The containers were empty and tug boats in the water were out securing them.
“It’s very rare.”
The stevedore expected the containers to eventually sink and then be pulled out by a crane.
South Port chief executive Nigel Gear said the “current situation is that, due to particularly strong winds, some containers have been dislodged from the stack and have landed both in the yard and also into the berth area”.
“The container terminal therefore has been closed down for safety reasons (standard practice) and we are currently working through the process of securing the containers that have fallen into the berth.
“We will continue to monitor the situation, especially the wind conditions, over the next 24 hours.”
Up the road, Invercargill is the windiest place in the country at the moment, being hit by forceful 120kmh westerly wind gusts and persistent rain.
There are power outages throughout the region with some businesses closing early because of no power.
Air New Zealand flights both arriving and departing the city had been delayed.
Severe weather warnings and watches have been issued for severe westerly quarter gales with the Canterbury High Country and coastal Clutha, Southland and Stewart Island most at risk.
Metservice data showed just over 4mm of rain had fallen in Invercargill so far on Wednesday.
Fourteen millimetres of rain was forecast for the day.
Wind watches and warnings are expected to ease on Wednesday night. However, the strong winds were forecast to continue, not dropping below 30kmh until 6pm Thursday.
Metservice forecast 22mm of rain to fall on Thursday as well.
Several places throughout the country recorded gusts over 100kmh on Tuesday.
Stewart Island saw the biggest gust with 148kmh, while Castlepoint saw 119kmh. Both Remutaka Hill near Wellington and Swampy Summit near Dunedin saw gusts of 113kmh.
A road snowfall warning has been issued for the Crown Range Rd and the Milford Rd.
Snow showers are expected to affect higher parts of the Crown Range Rd between midday and 6pm on Thursday, when 1cm or less of snow may settle on
the road above 900 metres.
Snow showers were expected to affect the summit of the Milford Road between 10pm on Wednesday and 6am on Thursday, when 1 or 2cm of snow may settle.