Calm after the storm


The nasty weather system that left 2500 Northlanders without power will pass as quickly as it came in to make way for a sunny and calm weekend to come.

The storm pelted Northland with rain, winds up to 120 km/h and thunderstorms Sunday through to yesterday, but was due to move southwest by last night.

The west coast of Northland bore the brunt of the storm, with the largest power outage recorded by Northpower occurring at 11pm Sunday after a tree cut a line affecting 210 customers.

Power was restored four and a half hours later at 3.30am yesterday.

Only a handful of call-outs were reported to fire services. Okaihau rural fire officers were on the scene when a Top Energy line was struck by lightening, cutting power to four customers.

Northpower public affairs manager Steve Macmillan said: "Our crews have responded well in difficult circumstances in dealing with seven outages yesterday and three this morning, mostly on the West Coast."

He said four of the outages were in Dargaville, while others were in Tokatoka, Ruawai, Maungatapere and Tikipunga.

Fire crews around the region attended scenes of damage due to the high winds. Chief fire officer for Kaikohe fire brigade Bill Hutchinson said officers attended two incidents of trees being brought down by the winds onto State Highway 1 near Pakaraka.

The National Bank on Commerce St lost its sign in high winds on Sunday night. No damage was caused by the falling sign.

Mr Macmillan said: "If anyone has seen the potential cause of an outage, we would appreciate them phoning our faults line and more importantly, people should stay clear of downed lines at all times."

Chief executive of Top Energy, David Worsfold, said crews had been kept busy during the weekend due to faults, however few customers were affected, due to the rural locations of the faults.

"We have had faults from one end of the region to the other. We are working as hard as we can to keep the public switched on," he said.

Looking forward, meteorologist at MetService Daniel Corbett said Northland will be back to pleasant and calm weather by the weekend.

Mr Corbett said there is a chance of showers for the region on Wednesday and Thursday.

"There is a low that will creep in, but nothing big and nasty like this one just been," Mr Corbett said.

- NORTHERN ADVOCATE

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