UPDATE: 22,000 homes without power

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The wind twists a road sign on the Awanui Straights, north of Kaitaia. PHOTO: Petrina Hodgson
The wind twists a road sign on the Awanui Straights, north of Kaitaia. PHOTO: Petrina Hodgson

UPDATE 9.30pm

More than 13,000 Northpower customers are now without power as the storm heightens in Northland. That brings the total number without power in Northland to about 22,000.

Rural areas of the Kaipara and Whangarei Districts are the worst hit.

Additional lines crews are being mobilised to assist with Wednesday's power restoration efforts.

Northpower customers are again being advised to expected outages throughout the night.

UPDATE: 7:56pm
Up to 8000 Northpower customers are currently without power and more could be affected - bringing the total number without power in the region to 17,000.

Depending on the severity of the storm overnight, some customers could be without power for days.
However, network damage will be assessed tomorrow.

High winds have caused multiple outages in the Kaipara and Whangarei Districts since 5pm and more are expected.

Around 3000 customers in rural areas around Dargaville township are without power and people are also affected in many other locations - Waipu, Maungakaramea, Poroti and Taipuha included.
Around 9,600 homes in the Far North are without power as the storm continues to press down on Northland.
Winds of up to 130km/h have hit as roofs have been lifted. There are reports of numerous fallen trees throughout the region.
Far North energy company has confirmed power outages at properties in Awanui, Kaikohe, Kaitaia, Opononi, Purerua, Pukenui South, Rawene, Russell, Taipa, Te Kao, Totara North and Whangaroa.
Around 1,100 households are also due to be without power tonight in Henderson Bay, Houhora, Houhora Heads, Hukatere, Kaimaumau, Kaitaia, Kauri Flat, Motutangi, Ngataki, Paparore, Paua, Pukenui, Pukepoto, Te Hapua, Te Kao, Te Paki, Thoms Landing, Waiharara, Waihopo, and Waitiki Landing.
Top Energy says it will be tomorrow evening before the latter properties are reconnected.
Meanwhile, as the storm heads south, Northpower is urging members of the public to stay clear of downed powerlines.
Northpower Chief Executive Mark Gatland was encouraging Northlanders to take care as a night of potentially widespread power outages looms.
"It's important that people remain safe and take precautions like having torches and battery powered radios at hand in case power is out overnight - and looking out for their neighbours where practical," says Mr Gatland.
"We have had a number of outages occur in areas north of Dargaville, Mata, Ruakaka and Maungatapere in the past hour as winds rise and we expect this to worsen.
"While our crews will do their best, they must remain safe so any power restoration required will begin in earnest at daybreak tomorrow. If it becomes too unsafe tonight they will stop work."
Repair crews had been working throughout the day.
Householders without power in the Far North can call Top Energy on 0800 867363 or if you are in the Whangarei/Dargaville area contact Northpower at 0800 104040.

- Northern Advocate

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