7 Oct 2008

Wild weather leaves 1700 without power

10:18 pm on 7 October 2008

About 1700 electricity consumers in the lower and central North Island were without power on Tuesday night after strong winds battered the region.

Supply was lost after winds gusting to more than 150km/h brought down trees and branches on powerlines.

At one stage, more than 4000 customers were without power in Wellington, Wairarapa, Manawatu and Taranaki.

Electricity company Powerco says power is expected to be restored to most customers by Wednesday morning.

MetService says the weather front which brought the stormy conditions to most of the North Island was expected to move east off the country overnight.

Accidents and road closures

The wild weather caused difficulties for motorists and was blamed for at least four accidents, the most serious in Te Kuiti, in which four people were hospitalised.

Bad weather also caused several road closures and slips in the lower half of the North Island, with State Highway 53 at Martinborough closed until Wednesday due to flooding.

Police are asking motorists to drive with care in the Wellington, Hutt and Kapiti Coast areas, with many reports of flooding and debris on the roads after the storm. Some roads in Lower Hutt have been closed.

State Highway 2 over the Rimutaka Hills has reopened.

In Manawatu, traffic is being diverted in Marton on State Highway 1, due to heavy flooding.

At Auckland Airport, domestic flights were suspended for 40 minutes from 5pm due to strong winds and rain.

Services at Wellington International Airport are back to normal after a morning of delays and cancellations.

Wairarapa farmers told to move stock

Wairarapa farmers have been asked to move stock as flooding is predicted in the area late on Tuesday.

Wellington Regional Council hydrologist Mike Gordon says heavy rainfall in the Tararua Ranges is expected to cause the Ruamahanga River to rise to five metres and cause flooding to some Martinborough properties about midnight.

Mr Gordon says a flood of that magnitude generally happens every three to five years.