Strong gusts and high winds are affecting parts of Auckland early this morning, with emergency services being kept busy overnight.
Fire crews had been called out to 77 weather-related call-outs in just over two hours between 3am and shortly after 5am.
Northern fire communications shift manager, Paul Radden, said most of the calls have been due to powerlines and trees coming down and roofs lifted.
Firefighters are also attending a house fire in New Lynn, West Auckland, he said.
There are reports several shipping containers in Papatoetoe have been tipped over.
A truck driver going past estimated about 30 containers had fallen over.
A large tree has fallen onto a vehicle on Glass Road in Mt Roskill and trees have fallen through homes, on decks and across roads.
Several suburbs are without electricity early on and includes part of the Northwestern motorway, which has no power between about Te Atatū and Western Springs.
A “red alert” has been issued specifically for the Harbour Bridge where gusts could reach 90km/h between midnight and 3am, and up to 110km/h between 3am and midday.
MetService said at its peak, the strongest gusts around the city was on the Harbour Bridge, where it was gusting about 110km/h at 4am.
Meteorologist Alwyn Bakker said that had started to ease off and shortly after 6am, winds on the bridge were gusting about 90km/h.
Winds around the Auckland Airport saw similar conditions – with winds gusting up to 107km/h between 3am and 4am, Bakker said.
Overhead motorway signs are telling motorists heading to the Harbour Bridge to be “extra careful” – with a specific warning for high vehicles and motorcyclists.
A strong wind watch is currently in place for Northland, Auckland, Great Barrier Island and Coromandel Peninsula north of Thames and Tairua.
The MetService says the watch is in place from 2am until 2pm today.
“Southwest winds may approach severe gale in exposed places, especially about the west of Auckland.”
Work is underway to remove a large tree blocking Walmsley Rd between Mahunga Dr and the SH20 motorway interchange. Delays and diversions are expected for some time while response crews clear the tree.
NZTA Waka Kotahi said delays and cancellations to public transport services and disruptions across the city’s highways were possible.
“If the winds do arrive, drivers of high-sided vehicles and motorcyclists are encouraged to avoid the bridge and use the Western Ring on State Highways 16 and 18.”
The agency said it would not hesitate to close the bridge on safety grounds if needed.
Auckland Transport has issued an alert on its social media channels warning motorists to “travel with care”.
Road authorities said response crews were responding to multiple incidents relating to fallen trees and power outages affecting traffic signals.
“Please be safe and drive with extra care this morning.”
Lines company Vector is responding to outages in Whangaparāoa Peninsula, Torbay, Milford, Birkenhead, Pāremoremo and Murrays Bay in the north.
Much of Dairy Flat and Helensville, northwest of the city, are also in the dark.
Further north, a lot of Mahurangi is without power.
The Vector website shows most of Te Atatu Peninsula, in west Auckland is without power.
Other parts of west Auckland badly affected are Massey West, Whenuapai West, Waimauku, Oratia, Langholm, Titirangi, Huapai and Kumeu.
There are also power cuts in parts of Westmere, Henderson and Mount Wellington.
In the south, there are outages in parts of Ōtāhuhu and Māngere East.
And out east, there appear to be outages in Bucklands Beach, Shamrock Park, Maraetai, and the area south of Beachlands.
Vector says for safety, people should stay well away from downed lines, consider them live, and call 111.
It says it has response teams, including specialist arborists, responding to outages throughout the night, but they may stop work if conditions become dangerous.
Vector says anyone who loses power should report through Vector’s website.
Tree crashes into house
A tree has crashed through a kitchen in the Christchurch suburb of Cashmere.
Fire and Emergency say one crew was called out just after 5.30am to the property on Valley Road
Officers had to use spades to redirect water away from the house, after a small wall collapsed.
The crew was onsite for 15 minutes and no one was injured in the incident.
– more to come –
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