James Ihaka

James Ihaka is a Herald reporter based in Hamilton.

Storm wreaks havoc through south

Wild weather leaves trail of damage, disruption and insurance claims - and a lengthy clean-up

A  woman, left, waits to be rescued from her car roof after the flooded Kakanui River washed it off the road. Photo / Otago Daily Times
A woman, left, waits to be rescued from her car roof after the flooded Kakanui River washed it off the road. Photo / Otago Daily Times

The worst of the miserable weather that caused havoc through parts of the country is over but some will be spending the long weekend cleaning up the mess.

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The weather from former tropical cyclone Ita caused widespread power outages, slips and thunderstorms on the West Coast which was battered by 140km/h winds.

At least 60 homes had their roofs torn off by gale force winds and in Nelson a part of the hospital roof was also ripped off.

Southern Fire Communications shift manager Andrew Norris said firefighting crews had been delayed from securing more than 100 properties damaged from Greymouth to Granity, north of Westport, because the gusty conditions had made things too dangerous.

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"They are mainly dealing with wind damage to houses, sheds and garages and a bit of water has also added to the complications."

Mr Norris said the locals faced a big clean-up.

"I would say they would have a good week at least of cleaning up - there's a lot of damage to houses."

A State Insurance spokeswoman said the insurer had fielded calls for weather-related damage claims from throughout the country, although most came from the West Coast yesterday.

"Most of the damage reports we had were about trees falling on homes but there were garages that were just picked up and thrown away by the wind," she said.

Amelia Macandrew of AA Insurance said it had received dozens of calls for claims yesterday and more were expected.

"Most of it has largely been caused by wind and rain. There's damage to roofs, water getting inside homes, chimneys being damaged by winds, outdoor furniture being blown around and damaging other things and trees falling as well.

"On Thursday it was mainly calls from people in Auckland but now pretty much all of them are coming from the South Island."

MetService media and communications meteorologist Daniel Corbett said the active front that brought severe gales and heavy rain will today drift south away from the country.

He said mainly fine weather with occasional showers can be expected throughout much of the country, although the east coasts of both islands look set to be the driest.

"Places sheltered from the northwest wind like Hawkes Bay and Canterbury, they tend to be a little bit drier as we go to Easter Sunday.

"Showers will be hit and miss but there will be a few wet spells to contend with if you have any outdoor plans."

Mr Corbett said Auckland would be mainly fine today and tomorrow with warmer than average temperatures.

"It will be drier weather. There will also be some showers but it will also be mild with the winds still coming from the north.

"Auckland will still manage temperatures on Saturday and Sunday of 22C and 23C."

- NZ Herald

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