Monday, July 28, 2008

Weather bomb hammers Auckland - storm of the decade

More than 50,000 homes have been left without power in Auckland on Saturday night, as the storm tipped to be one of the biggest to hit New Zealand in a decade causes havoc.

Auckland weather worsened throughout the day with the eye of the storm expected to pass directly over or very near the region.

The MetService has described the storm as 'potentially destructive and dangerous' which has hit Auckland with damaging wind gusts.

The storm whipped waves into a frenzy closing lanes onto the Harbour Bridge.

One boat lost its battle against mother nature, ending up battered against the rocks next to the bridge.

Motorists are still being urged to avoid travelling over it and the speed limit is down to 60 kilometres an hour, as motorists battle 100km winds.

Tamaki Drive along Auckland's waterfront is also closed as the giant waves create entertainment for the family.

Civil Defence advice is to batten down the hatches and only go outdoors if you really need to.

Power Outage

Power is now also being lost to homes in South Auckland as high winds knock down trees and power lines.

Over 53 000 homes in Rodney, Waitakere and North Shore areas have already lost power.

Vector says it is doing everything it can to restore supply but winds are stopping crew from repairing faults on overhead lines.

Power companies are urging people to be cautious and be aware of the potential hazards from fallen power lines.

Vector says it can't give an estimate of when power will be fully restored, and says customers should be prepared for prolonged outages.


The storm is also causing chaos for the Coromandel, with the Kauaeranga River south of Thames bursting its banks, forcing the closure of State Highway 25.

Civil Defence is asking people throughout the Coromandel and the Hauraki Plains to stay home unless absolutely necessarily.

Further South

In the Central North Island the Desert Road is closed by snow, and State Highway 12 in the Far North is affected by flooding.

Strong winds have blown over a campervan on State Highway One, south of Wellsford and two people have been taken to hospital with moderate injuries, including leg fractures.

Cars are also being trapped in floodwaters near Rakauwahia Road.

Police are asking motorists stranded at Whakapapa on Mt Ruapehu to remain in their vehicles and wait for ski field staff to help them off the mountain.

About 100 vehicles are still on the mountain, and staff are working from car park to car park along the Bruce Road to free them.

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