MetService says wind gusts reaching 200 kilometres per hour have been recorded in the Southern Alps today.
Severe warnings of strong northwest winds are in place for the West Coast, inland exposed areas of Southland, Otago and Canterbury, as well as Marlborough, Wellington and Wairarapa, with conditions expected to worsen overnight.
A MetService spokesperson said gusts of between 180 and 200 kilometres per hour were recorded at the Mt Cook aerodrome at 11am, and are still clocking in at about 140.
Gusts in the capital remain strong, with readings of 125 kilometres per hour registered at the Kelburn weather station.
The Fire Service in Christchurch has been kept busy with a forest fire in Living Springs that has now been extinguished.
The north west gales are expected to turn to the south tomorrow night, where snow is forecast for alpine roads in Otago and the Canterbury high country.