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Thousands affected by southerly storm

Photo: RNZ / Sarah Robson

 

Firefighters have been inundated with calls due to extreme weather in the North Island.

More than 1000 Coastal Taranaki residents will be without power overnight after widespread damage from a storm that first hit the province about 6.30am Tuesday.

Parts of Tauranga, Coromandel, Waikato, Whanganui and Manawatu have been experiencing disruption to power overnight. The region from Okato to Patea fared worst with power poles uprooted and lines brought down by falling trees.

Tornadoes, heavy rain, lightning strikes and strong winds battered the region. Powerco Network Operations Manager Phil Marsh says crews had made significant gains throughout the day restoring supply. “About 3000 were still without power at 4.30pm but we hoped to get that down to about 1300 tonight.” Those left in the dark overnight are expected to have power restored sometime today.

About 12,000 customers were lost power initially but we made good gains and were able to reconnect more than 9000 during the day.

But there are parts of the Taranaki network that have been hard hit.  

“We have numerous poles down while others are leaning over and in a dangerous state. We will not reconnect lines until all the poles and wires are safe.

“The winds associated with this storm are forecast to continue until early Wednesday morning. We are on high alert,” says Phil.

“Our first priority is safety so we need anyone coming across damage to our network to call either the police or our emergency line 0800 272727.

“Downed lines must be treated as live at all times and people should keep clear of them.”

Fire and Emergency New Zealand says its receiving dozens of calls about trees toppling onto roads, power lines and homes in the Auckland region.

They dealt with more than 170 calls in Auckland and the wider Upper North Island area.

Most of the calls are about trees that have fallen down, or roofing coming off buildings.

A tree has fallen through the roof of a house in Stanley Point, and another has fallen through the roof of a home in Birkdale.

Two trees have also toppled onto a house in Massey.

A tree has taken out power lines on West Coast Road in Waiatarua.

There are also reports of flooding in parts of Coromandel.

Meanwhile, fire crews are also dealing with a massive blaze at a mill in the Thames-Coromandel district.

In the Bay of Plenty, reports of coming in of trees down in the Eastern Bay of Plenty.

Motorists are being asked to drive with caution.

There are also reports of a diesel spill on the Tauranga Eastern Link.

In Mount Maunganui, four catamarans were blown onto the road when a mini-tornado was reported to have ripped through Pilot Bay yesterday.

If you have any weather related photos, please email them to newsroom@thesun.co.nz so we can share them with the rest of our readers.

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