Storm damage in New Zealand's North Island
Storm damage in New Zealand's North Island sarah zonneveld

Alert in South Island as 'worst storm' hits NZ

NEW Zealand's South Island was on high alert yesterday as heavy rain started to flood roads and rivers, while a massive clean-up was under way in the North Island after Cyclone Cook carved a destructive swathe across eastern regions on Thursday night.

Heavy rain and strong wind watches remained in force for southern regions as the cyclone unleashed its final sting before its anticipated moved away from the country last night.

Christchurch's Heathcote River had burst its banks and many city roads were under water as heavy rain continued to fall.

In flood-prone Flockton, temporary pumps were being used and a close watch was being kept on water levels.

Meanwhile, thousands of homes remain without power across the Bay of Plenty, Hawke's Bay, Wairarapa and Wanganui after the cyclone ripped down the island.

Roofs were torn off in Hawke's Bay, windows smashed in Whakatane, trampolines tossed in the air, mud dumped on roads and hundreds of trees uprooted across the island from the "worst storm in generations”.

The MetService registered gusts exceeding 200kmh on White Island in the Bay of Plenty, and on the mainland, Cape Kidnappers and coastal Gisborne registered 150kmh gusts. In Napier winds "like freight trains” sent outdoor furniture and trees flying.

Firefighters dealt with more than 150 call-outs to emergencies in Opotiki, Mount Maunganui and Hawke's Bay.

Auckland escaped largely unscathed. - NZ Herald



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