Winds gust but little else from storm

By Staff Reporters

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TRUNK CALL: Emergency workers clear the fallen tree and keep traffic moving along the one open lane on Western Hills Drive. PHOTO/LINDY LAIRD
TRUNK CALL: Emergency workers clear the fallen tree and keep traffic moving along the one open lane on Western Hills Drive. PHOTO/LINDY LAIRD

The wind gusted to 133km/h and there were scattered rain bands, but Northland escaped the predicted sting in the tail for ex-tropical Cyclone June yesterday.

Possibly the biggest impact in Whangarei from the tired remnants of the Pacific cyclone was a fallen tree that held up traffic on Western Hills Drive.

No one was hurt and, miraculously, no cars hit when a strong gust of wind sent the melia tree (also known as a bead tree) crashing onto the busy road at around midday yesterday.

The tree blocked the northbound lane on the urban stretch of State Highway 1 near Percy St but traffic was able to pass on the other lane as contractors cleared the road.

One neighbour, Maria Unkovich, said she had been expecting the 50-year-old tree to take a tumble for years, and had notified the authorities several times about her concerns.

"I have been saying for a long time that tree will fall and kill someone," she said.

Mrs Unkovich had asked that the tree be removed when some conifers and other trees had been cut along the road berm.

Another neighbour, John Williams, thought he heard a crack but had no idea the tree had gone until he heard the noise of fire engines, chainsaws and built-up traffic outside.

The swell accompanying the low weather pattern brought big waves to parts of the east coast.

MetService Meteorologist John Low said the wind was recorded at 133km/h at Cape Reinga about 8am yesterday, but from there it weakened.

The rainfall was nothing spectacular either, with 24-hour totals reaching 13mm in Dargaville and 10mm in both Whangarei and Kerikeri.

Showers were forecast for Northland today.

- Northern Advocate

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