New Zealand’s North Island devastated by gales: TWO MONTHS of rain falls in just 24 hours

Friday, January 5, 2018
By Paul Martin

GALE-FORCE winds battered New Zealand’s North Island today, tearing off roofs, bringing down trees, cutting power and forcing residents to flee flooded seaside towns.
Fri, Jan 5, 2018

The storm, which began on Thursday, was easing in the upper part of the North Island but would continue to wreak havoc as it moved south and hit the capital, Wellington, forecasters said.

A tree smashed into a car in the eastern town of Rotorua, killing a woman, police said.

“We ask that people avoid low lying roads and coastal areas across Bay of Plenty as water levels are high, making conditions extremely dangerous,” the statement added.

In Kaiaua, a seaside town south of Auckland, authorities called for residents to evacuate as strong tides submerged the coast.

“My husband said ‘I think we need to go’ and I looked to see where he was pointed and the sea was coming in like a tsunami. It came in real fast,” Kaiaua resident Diana Gausden told the New Zealand Herald.

New Zealand’s largest city, Auckland, was pummelled by two months’ worth of rain in 24 hours, according to the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research.

This prompted authorities to shut major roads and cancel ferry services and dozens of flights.

Winds of up to 80 mph an hour tore off roofs, felled trees and ripped boats from their moorings overnight, according to media.

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