Air New Zealand has cancelled
several flights to provincial centres as wild weather moves
down the country.
Link service flights from Wellington to Nelson, Tauranga,
Taupo, Gisborne, New Plymouth, Napier, Palmerston North,
Blenheim, Rotorua and Hamilton have been cancelled this
Flights from Auckland to Wanganui have also been cancelled,
while other flights have faced minor delays.
An Air NZ spokeswoman said weather conditions at Wellington
Airport had caused significant disruption to domestic link
services into and out of the capital this morning.
"At this stage domestic jet services have not been impacted."
Customers booked to travel to or from Wellington this morning
were advised to keep an eye on the Air NZ arrivals and
departures website for latest updates.
A JetStar spokesman said flights between Wellington and
Auckland had been delayed this morning due to the high winds
in Wellington, however no flights had yet been cancelled.
MetService spokesman Daniel Corbett said the same spring
storm which had caused snow falls in Canterbury and
thunderstorms in the upper North Island was causing strong
southerlies in Wellington.
"It's already in excess of 100kmh around town and the airport
and even Mt Kaukau has been gusting up over 110kmh in the
last couple of hours."
A severe weather watch was in effect for storm-force gales in
Cook Strait, Mr Corbett said.
The gales are going to slowly start to ease back as a low
currently rotating towards Taranaki/Whanganui moves across to
the east of the North Island, he said.
The freak weather event on Auckland's North Shore last night
was caused by a line of thunderstorms moving through, Mr
"A lot of times people think when you see damage, [it's]
going to be caused by a tornado.
"That was most likely caused by what we call strong, straight
line wind gusts, caused by a downburst."
However, there was no swirling in the debris field as would
normally be seen in a tornado, Mr Corbett said.
"It was a very short-lived thing [which] moved out to the
Gulf, and then that line of storms continued down to the
Waikato beyond that.
"That line now has moved well east of the North Island. There
is a risk of some thunderstorms today, but they aren't of the
ferocious nature that we saw yesterday."
Contractors are cleaning up storm debris in Devonport this
morning, and more strong winds are forecast for the city.
Last night's squall damaged homes, ripped up fences and
toppled trees and powerlines.
A handful of properties remained without power this morning,
down from 600 at the height of the event.
The wind struck just after 6pm and most of the damage
appeared to have been confined to the area east of the
Waitemata Golf Club.
Debris littered Vauxhall Rd and large sheets of corrugated
iron hung on power lines like washing hung out to dry.
Auckland Civil Defence controller Clive Manly says
contractors were out last night clearing loose debris, and
will continue to do so this morning.
"There was gale-force winds forecast for the night so we
wanted to make sure that the big stuff that had been [blown
down] - branches and stuff - weren't going to blow around."
Building inspectors were set to inspect properties damaged by
the squall this morning, Mr Manly said.
Temporary tarpaulins were used to cover some properties last
"There was a roof gone and there was bits of damage to about
five other properties. They were made safe, so it was dry.
"Today we're following it through with building inspectors to
see what permanent repairs need to be done."
No one was evacuated from their home last night, Mr Manly
"There was one house that had the roof gone, but they were
overseas, so they weren't impacted and there others all
stayed in their houses. There was only minor damage.
"We're very fortunate; it was ... very short, sharp and gone
in a few seconds. We were very lucky that there was no
serious damage done."
Spokeswoman for Auckland power supplier Vector Energy, Sandy
Hodge said at the height of the "tornado incident" around 600
Devonport properties lost power.
"That was due to a Telecom pole coming down largely on some
of our assets.
"Most of that power was restored by 8.20pm and we had a
handful of customers still off overnight - that was due to
service lines - the line from the power pole to their
property being damaged.
"They've got to get electricians out today to look at them."
About seven properties were still without power, Ms Hodge
Local resident Paul Dalebroux last night said he heard the
wind coming through first.
"We heard this really loud whistling sound and then it came
towards us but then veered off a bit."
Victoria Silvey, 12, was in her lounge when she saw timber,
leaves and poles "floating in the air".
They were whirling around in a funnel of wind that lasted
about 30 seconds before leaving the area, she said.
The garage door of Sarah Maher's Grahame St property was
dented by debris and the glass of her back door shattered.
"I was on the phone to my husband, who's in Wellington, and I
said 'wow the wind's really picking up, I've never seen
anything like it'. Then I said 'oh my God, I think it's a
tornado' and dived underneath the stairs."
Westerlies of up to 100km/h were forecast for the Auckland