Matthew Backhouse

Matthew Backhouse is an APNZ news reporter based in Wellington.

Cyclone's tail packs a windy punch

This tree on Brady Road in Otahuhu was torn down by the winds. Photo / Silvia Virgilio
This tree on Brady Road in Otahuhu was torn down by the winds. Photo / Silvia Virgilio

Sue Keeling says she hasn't stopped shaking since a large tree crashed onto her Panmure home this afternoon - one of dozens of incidents across Auckland as the tail end of Cyclone June blew through.

At its height, the storm brought gusts of up to 90km/h at Auckland Airport and up to 100km/h to Manukau Heads and the Hauraki Gulf.

More than 5500 households were without power at one stage and firefighters were kept busy with weather-related calls coming in "thick and fast''.

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Ms Keeling was in her home on Jellicoe Rd when strong winds toppled a large tree onto her roof about 3pm, coming dangerously close to bringing down power lines.

"I thought it was a tornado,'' she said. "I wouldn't say it was as loud as an explosion but to me it was very frightening.''

She said she had an anxiety attack as a result and her hands were still shaking when she spoke to APNZ several hours later.

"I just felt really breathless and I've still got the shakes a bit.''

In nearby Remuera, a large tree limb that fell onto a parked car on Martin Ave was fortunate not to have hit a bus with passengers on board.

Nearby resident Isaac Matz said he heard a "pretty big crack'' and went outside to see the branch denting the roof of the car and covering the road.

"It's been hectic. There's also a massive hedge on the other side of our house which has just pretty much been flattened. Good summer, eh.''

Susana Guttenbeil was driving south on Mangere Bridge with her 7-month-old baby in the back when the wind blew a truck in front of her.

"There was a massive gust and the truck swerved into my lane and nearly hit me. It was pretty scary really.''

She had been driving slower than usually because of the wind, which gave her time to take evasive action.

"If I'd been driving normal speed It could have taken me out,'' she said. "I'm pretty sure I had a mini heart attack.''

Fire Service northern communications shift manager Tania Matthews said they had received almost 40 weather-related alerts.

"They were mainly trees and branches falling on roads, cars, power lines, telephone lines, roofs.''

Other jobs included loose roofing and signs, but none were serious and there were no injuries.

Firefighters outside Auckland were also kept busy with weather-related incidents in Kaiwaka, north of Auckland, and Pukekawa and Paeroa in Waikato.

The New Zealand Transport Agency said strong southwesterly winds in the Auckland region made driving conditions difficult, with gusts of up to 81.5km/h on the Harbour Bridge and 70km/h on the Mangere Bridge.

Power company Vector said at 8.25pm that there were 583 customers without power because of the weather, most of them in Muriwai.

All were due to be reconnected.

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- APNZ

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