Storm strikes swiftly, 12,000 without power
A tornado, lightning strikes, heavy rain and high winds have combined to cut power to about 12,000 properties from Taranaki to Whanganui today.
A predicted storm first made its presence felt about 6.30am and proceeded to batter coastal Taranaki from Okato in the north to Patea.
Powerco Network Operations Manager Phil Marsh said there was worse to come.
“The storm is forecast to be at a peak from 3pm today until early tomorrow morning so we are on high alert,” he said.
“We already have multiple reports of poles and lines being brought down by trees. Contractors have been mobilized to isolate that damage. Our first priority is safety so we need anyone coming across damage to our network to call either the police or our emergency line 0800 272727.”
“Downed lines must be treated as live at all times and people should keep clear of them.”
It was hard to estimate when power would be restored as multiple areas were affected and conditions were currently marginal for repair work to begin.
Mr Marsh said it was unknown what damage the mass of lightning strikes had caused to equipment.
“We’ll know that once crews are able to get safe access to affected areas but more than 13,000 strikes were recorded in the region,” he said.