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Thousands lose power in Chch, truck blown over in Kaikoura

UPDATED 11:04am — A truck has been blown over in Kaikoura and nearly 10,000 Christchurch properties are without power after a massive storm hit last night.

Kaikoura deputy chief fire officer Craig Guthrie said they had attended seven callouts since the storm hit.

“We’ve had a truck blown over, trees down, powerlines down and sparking, roofs lifting and two vegetation fires as well.”

The truck was off the road and had yet to be righted, Mr Guthrie said.

The driver was “ok” and had moderate injuries, he said.

While the wind had calmed down, drivers were still advised to take care.

Power lines were down “all over the show” and multiple trees were blown over when the storm hit around 5.45am, Mr Guthrie said.

Kaikoura police Constable Wendy Bennett said the town was hit with “very, very high wings”.

Areas of Kaikoura were temporarily lost power, and motorists were advised to take extreme care, she said.

Christchurch lines company Orion said power was cut to 9,800 customers after strong winds affected power lines across the company’s distribution network.

Most outages were due to trees or branches falling onto power lines.

Customers were affected mostly in the area south west of Christchurch including Lincoln, Prebbleton, Leeston, Southbridge and Annat.

There were also smaller outages throughout Christchurch city and on Banks Peninsula.

“Emergency crews worked throughout the night on critical faults and more crews joined them at first light today,” chief executive Rob Jamieson said.

“We will continue to work as quickly and safely as we can in difficult conditions, and hope to have at least half of the power supply restored to customers by noon today.

“The power cuts are scattered across our network, so it takes some time to find and fix each fault, particularly in the rural areas.”

Weather Watch spokesman Philip Duncan said the winds were caused by a deep low south of the country and a big high to the north.

“The squash zone is smack bang over the South Island and those norwesters [are] coming up over the Southern Alps.”

Wind gusts across Christchurch would have ranged from 70 to 100 kilometres an hour, Mr Duncan said.

Police Southern communications manager Mark Booth said roads around Canterbury had also been blocked by trees which came down in the storm.

“The guys are out doing a good job clearing them.”

Power outages were still widespread across the region, he said.

Southern Fire communications shift manager Brent Dunn said the district’s fire crews had been busy throughout the night.

“A bit of the storm came up the country and affected greater Christchurch and has now moved up and is affecting Kaikoura at the moment.

“We’re getting a lot of calls of lines down and trees down and things over the roads.”
The Fire Service had also been called out due to houses having their roofs blown off, Mr Dunn said.

“Between 2am and now [7.15am] there’s been about 80 callouts.”

The greater Christchurch area was the worst affected, he said.

Christchurch residents aware of fallen power lines were advised to stay well clear and call Orion on 0800 363 9898.



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