Wellington battered as storm heads north


Wellington battered as storm heads north

7:59pm June 20, 2013

Winds gusting up to 140km/h were battering downtown Wellington, lifting roofs from homes and cutting power to about 30,000 customers.

The southerly winds were part of a storm which has already brought snow and heavy rain to much of the South Island on Thursday, and was expected to cause problems through the North Island moving into Friday.

More than 200 people have called Wellington City Council’s call centre, reporting houses losing roofs, breaking windows and other structural damage due to the winds.

The winds have also brought down trees and caused slips, and Middleton Rd between Johnsonville and Churton Park was closed after a tree blew onto a car.

Acting civil defence controller Neville Brown says it’s essential people stay indoors if possible.

“There is a lot of material being turned into missiles – it is a potentially lethal situation out there.”

Mr Brown said the winds were so severe it was too treacherous in many cases to carry out repairs and clearance work, and he warned there were likely to be numerous obstructions for commuters on Friday.

Wellington Electricity said trees and debris falling onto lines caused about 30,000 power outages through the region, particularly in the Hutt Valley and Porirua regions as well as the Miramar area.

A spokesman said crews were doing what they can to repair the lines but the volume of outages and the danger caused by the winds might slow repair times.

Wellingtonians were urged to stay clear of fallen power lines and anything touching them as they could be live and dangerous.

MetService duty forecaster Heath Gullery said winds were averaging 85-90km/h in urban areas, gusting up to 140km/h.

One resident told NZ Newswire she was having trouble driving her car home and it was the worst wind she could remember.

Ferries, trains and flights in Wellington were all cancelled.

Strong winds were also forecast in Nelson, Marlborough, the West Coast, Fiordland, Wairarapa, Whanganui, Taranaki, Auckland, the Coromandel and Northland, and were set to continue into Friday.

The winds came as part of a storm which dumped snow through Otago and Canterbury on Thursday, and more

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