Communities isolated, power out and clean-up beginning in Northland. Electricity still out in parts of Auckland. Most of Coromandel Peninsula without electricity.
The weather conditions which brought heavy rain and strong winds to the northern part of the North Island have eased in Northland and Auckland, and are expected to ease on the Coromandel Peninsula as the day progresses.
In Northland, Kaeo, Kerikeri and Whangarei are isolated by road this morning (Wednesday 11th June 2007) and the priority is to open basic access today. This will allow staff in to assess damage and commence restoration of electricity supplies. Extensive wind damage to the electricity infrastructure is expected to delay restoration to some customers for more than 24 hours.
More than 90 roads in Northland are closed by landslips, surface flooding and downed trees. River levels are dropping quickly after some peaked at 12 metres above normal. Kaitaia and Kawakawa are without water, with Kaitaia’s supply expected to be restored later this morning.
Rainfall figures for the weather event in Northland are coming in, with 273 mm recorded at Kaeo yesterday and 181 mm in Whangarei.
In Auckland, the main disruption has been the loss of power supply to many customers. Some restoration was accomplished overnight, and work is continuing apace today. Data as to building damage caused by the wind is sketchy at the moment.
The Coromandel Peninsula, which was lashed by the storm overnight, is largely without electricity today, owing to the loss of a major feeder into the peninsula. Very high winds overnight caused the most damage, with rainfall being less than that experienced in Northland. Electricity workers face a logistical nightmare in restoring supplies to consumers, with many local distribution lines having been brought down.
Throughout the Northland and Coromandel regions, communications are threatened by the electricity failures. Cellular sites and telephone exchanges have been running on batteries or generator supplies for many hours. Telecom has asked subscribers who still have landline access to limit their calls to extend the time exchanges can wait for electricity to be restored.
Easing conditions in Northland are allowing the first stages of a clean-up to be undertaken. Coromandel is still feeling the effects of the storm’s high winds.
The storm in Northland and Auckland generated record numbers of emergency calls to Police Communication Centres Tuesday night. Call flows doubled as reports of downed power lines, trees down, blocked roads, vehicles trapped in floods and other calls flowed in.
[sources: Northland Regional Council, Thames Coromandel District Council, New Zealand Police Media Centre. ]