Cold front delivers damage

By Mike Dinsdale

If you thought yesterday was cold you may have been shocked by this morning's temperatures with the coldest day of the year so far for Northland predicted for overnight.

MetService media and communications meteorologist Daniel Corbett said Northland yesterday shivered through one of the coldest days of the year so far, but today should be even colder.

Yesterday saw heavy rain and hailstones hit parts of Northland and temperatures drop to 6C in Kerikeri, 7C in Whangarei, 7.7C in Kaitaia and 8.6C in Dargaville.

"It should be even colder though (overnight) with Kerikeri predicted to drop to 2C, Whangarei and Kaitaia 4C and Dargaville about 5C," Mr Corbett said.

The storm brought thunder and lightning, strong winds - which took the roof off a home in Whangape and brought down trees in other parts of the Far North - heavy rain and hail.

Hugh Rose woke up at his Tangowahine Farm and Rural Retreat in Tangowahine Valley Rd, at 5.30am to thunder and lightning and a heavy hailstorm that left a thick duvet of hailstones on the ground.

Mr Rose said the hail was still on parts of the farm at 11.45am, and the hail blanket was the worst he had seen in 12 years at the property. "The rain wasn't the worst though. We had 40mm, whereas the most we've had in one day was 130mm," he said.

The wild weather also tore the roof off a home at Whangape, 42km southeast of Kaitaia.

Mane Mathews wasn't hanging around when what he described as a tornado struck his aunt's house at Whangape early yesterday afternoon. He phoned 111 then ran off down the hill to the road, where he felt a little safer as the wind smashed through a macrocarpa tree and peeled half the iron roof off the house "like a sardine can."

It took about an hour for help to arrive in the form of crews from the Ahipara and Kaitaia fire brigades, Mr Mathews saying only light rain had fallen in that time, and the exposed ceilings did not appear to have suffered significant damage. The firefighters covered the damaged area with tarpaulins.

Northpower reported a number of lines down in the Kaipara, leading to "dozens" of power outages while lightning strikes had also taken out several transformers in the district.

The company says anybody who sees downed lines should not touch them, but contact Northpower straight away on 0800 10 40 40.

- Northern Advocate

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