Wild storm: One injured, thousands still without power in Auckland

• 15000 Auckland homes without power at the peak of the storm. 3000 facing a second night in the dark

• Twelve passengers had to be evacuated after a tree came down on a train near Papatoetoe, none were injured

• Three people were injured after a tree fell on the car they were driving in on the Southern Motorway. Two of the motorists remained in hospital in a stable condition.

• A 250-tonne buoy broke its mooring and washed up on Ngamotu Beach in New Plymouth after strong winds that left more than 1500 homes without power in Taranaki

• Flights cancelled in Wellington where part of Vivian St was cordoned off due to glass falling from a building. A gust of 140km/h was recorded at Mt Kaukau

• A car was blown off the road on SH2 at the Pakipaki roundabout after gale-force winds hit in Hawkes Bay.

A 160km/h gust was recorded at Mahia Peninsula at 10am.

• A gust of wind ripped a wedding reception marquee out of the ground and left it in shreds in South Taranaki

Roofs lifted in the wind, trees down on roads and properties, and flooded garages have kept the Fire Service busy today.

Firefighters have attended more than 100 weather-related callouts nationwide since 6.30am this morning.

A majority of the callouts were in the North Island following last night's storm and patches of wild weather today.

Meanwhile, more than 15,000 Auckland households were without power this morning. As of 5pm, 3000 households were still without power, a Vector statement said.

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"Crews have been flat out right across Auckland clearing trees, replacing power poles, and fixing lines in difficult conditions with strong wind and rain in many areas.

Photo / Daniel Alexander
Photo / Daniel Alexander



"There are a significant number of incidents with trees damaging the network and we've been working with Treescape to clear the sites so crews can get access."

Several power poles need replacing, with each requiring about four to six hours of work.

Vector was still receiving new reports of damage at 5pm, including secondary vegetation faults where weakened branches have finally come loose and fallen on lines.

Earlier, they received a report a bouncy castle had become tangled in powerlines in Kumeu.


"It's very important that people stay well clear of fallen power lines or damaged electrical equipment ...

"People using medical equipment that relies on electricity should let their retailer know and ensure they are prepared for power disruptions. If there is an immediate health threat, they should contact their health provider or call 111."

A Meridian Energy spokeswoman said they hadn't had any reports of power outages in the South Island.

Man taken to hospital after tree falls on car

A man is in Middlemore Hospital in a stable condition after a tree fell on his car while driving on Auckland's Southern Motorway in the most serious of a number of weather-related incidents last night.

Seven people were in the car. The man was previously in a critical condition, and two others had serious injuries.

A Middlemore spokesperson said two patients were now stable, and it is believed the other patient had been discharged.

A Police spokesman said the tree "came straight down on top of the car".

Seven power poles are down on Marsden Ave, Mount Eden. Photo / Michael Craig
Seven power poles are down on Marsden Ave, Mount Eden. Photo / Michael Craig

A member of the public following the vehicle pulled all seven occupants out after the crash. The passengers were aged from 5 months old to their early 50s.

A tree has snapped in half, falling onto a patrol car at Howick Police Station overnight. Photo / Steve Smith
A tree has snapped in half, falling onto a patrol car at Howick Police Station overnight. Photo / Steve Smith

Onehunga resident Catherine Somerville-Frost said half of an 80-year-old coral tree - the width of a man's torso - came within a metre and a half of her home.

"It was impressive ... We've got big 150-year-old Norfolk Pines around us that were bending over. It was moving our wicker furniture and a barbecue across the deck which was quite impressive," Somerville-Frost said.

A tree took out a bus stop and power lines on boundary road in Blockhouse Bay. Photo / Steve wheeler
A tree took out a bus stop and power lines on boundary road in Blockhouse Bay. Photo / Steve wheeler

"Usually the wind comes in off the harbour, but this time it was more coming from the north-west, which meant it was hitting trees from a different direction which is why I think it was doing so much damage."

Somerville-Frost said she was surprised at the strength of the gusts.

"We didn't really have a warning about it. Wellington got warnings and we were told it would be bad weather, but not that it would [gust] like that. We had to rush out [during the wind] to tie down things that were loose ... I don't recall seeing any [warning] like that."

Other weather-related damage

A large tree was uprooted and fell on an Onehunga state house. Tim McCready said the house suffered damage as a result.

A tree - about 25m high - collapsed onto a police car parked at the Howick Police Station.

Half a tree toppled down onto a property in Onehunga. Photo / Catherine Somerville-Frost
Half a tree toppled down onto a property in Onehunga. Photo / Catherine Somerville-Frost

Steve Smith was working in the area and said the tree's trunk had snapped in half, with the other half falling on the car.

Half a tree has fallen onto a cop car parked at Howick Police Station. Photo / Steve Smith
Half a tree has fallen onto a cop car parked at Howick Police Station. Photo / Steve Smith

"The cop car is damaged. The windows aren't broken but it's dented panels. Half the trunk has split away and half the tree has snapped onto the cop car. There's going to be a bit of a clean-up, that's for sure.

Stuart Chapman has sent in photos of a tree in Titirangi that was completely uprooted, seriously damaging a car.

Stuart Chapman sent in photos of a tree in Titirangi that was completely uprooted, seriously damaging a car.
Stuart Chapman sent in photos of a tree in Titirangi that was completely uprooted, seriously damaging a car.

Auckland man Sam Shepherd had just dropped friends into town early this morning when he came across scaffolding sprawled across Customs St East, near the intersection of Fort Ln, about 1am today.

He said it was fortunate there were no cars or pedestrians in the area at the time as the scaffolding sprawled across nearly two east-bound lanes.

Photo / Michele Baxter
Photo / Michele Baxter

And nearby at Britomart, security fencing for a construction zone had also collapsed in the strong winds. Shepherd said security staff were turning up to keep pedestrians away from the area.

Emergency services busy last night

Strong winds and rain struck the upper North Island last night, causing numerous emergency calls.

Fire service northern shift manager Dallas Ramsay said they attended more than 150 weather-related callouts between 8:30pm and 1:30am.

She said they had been dealing with downed power lines, trees blown over - and runaway trampolines picked up by the wind.

One reader sent in this pic of their carport gone in Drury. Photo / Katie Guy
One reader sent in this pic of their carport gone in Drury. Photo / Katie Guy

Despite the rain, there was also a house fire on Wellington St in Papakura, which saw no one injured.


Meanwhile, the South Island has appeared to escape relatively unscathed.

A southern fire communications spokesman said they had about 10 weather-related callouts overnight but all were relatively minor incidents of trees falling over the road, power lines down, or power lines hanging low.

The majority of the callouts were in the Nelson-Marlborough areas of Richmond, Takaka and Upper Moutere, while there were also a few in Canterbury, including Cheviot and Christchurch.

Mobile networks affected by weather

Two Degrees mobile said overnight weather and power outages had affected part of its Auckland network, and said some of its customers would be without mobile service this morning.

"Others may be experiencing reduced performance as we manage sites on battery power to ensure they stay live for as long as possible," said spokeswoman Lenska Papich.

Papich said cell sites were down in Beachlands, Piha, Otahuhu, Takanini East, Greenwoods Corner, Blockhouse Bay East, Ramarama and Rotorua Island.

Spark spokesman Richard Llewellyn said there were six affected sites around Auckland being run on battery-powered backup and at reduced capability this morning.

These were Kawakawa, Browns Road in Manurewa, Riverleigh, Awhite North, Greenword Corner and Orere Point.

"There may be some limited and intermittent issues around mobile coverage in those areas," Llewellyn said.

"We'd encourage people to use texts instead of data to help manage the load, but that said these are all being progressively restored and may be up and running fairly soon."

"We thank customers for their patience and we're working hard to get them back up and running."

Vodafone said it has seven cell sites around the region which were experiencing "degraded coverage". It said customers in affected areas should be covered by surrounding cell towers.

Spokeswoman Andrea Brady said some customers might also have lost their broadband but the company was working to restore connectivity.

- NZ Herald

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