A storm has hit New Zealand with about 4,200 homes without power as electricity lines fell because of strong winds blowing in the country. The Rimutaka Hill Road was closed off to traffic, while flights have been cancelled. The gale-force winds also put the Parliament's Cabinet meeting at risk.
Wikipedia/Wikimedia Commons New Zealand hit by stormy weather on Oct. 14.
Strong gusts of wind blown debris and trees which also caused disconnection of several power lines. According to recent weather reports, winds of up to 130km/h are expected to hit Wairarapa. Powerco has warned residents to prepare for more power outages as the storm continues.
Phil Marsh, network operations manager, has warned New Zealanders to stay away from damaged power lines on the ground and report them if they can. Mr Marsh said that power lines lying on the side of the road may look harmless, but they are still live. He said live wires can kill people. He also advised the public to keep children and pets away from power lines and call Powerco immediately.
Farmers in Canterbury were also affected by the strong winds, but they appear to be safe from any injury or damage. Local reports said thousands of trees and several dairy farm irrigation systems were reportedly damaged in a storm in September with gale force winds similar to the current storm's 130 km/h.
According to Rakaia farmer Gary McGregor, the winds that ravaged the country on Monday, Oct 14, was "pretty rough" but he thinks the worst of it has passed. After September's storm, the farmers were better prepared for the winds since they were able to take certain steps to ensure minimal damage.
Federated Farmers spokesperson Katie Milne warned farmers to wait for winds to calm down before going out to inspect their properties for damage.
Motorists were advised to passing by Milford Road since the strong winds and rain had made driving conditions dangerous.
The New Zealand's Transport Agency has already issued a warning for Kiwis to cancel or postpone non-essential travel to avoid accidents on the road. Based on Transport Agency figures, rainfall was more than 157mm, causing surface floods as a large tree fell on the Walker Creek highway.
Weather forecasts said the poor weather will continue along with snow. Senior network manager Peter Robinson of the Transport Agency advised motorists to carry chains if they are travelling on the road.
Most regional flights were cancelled, according to a spokeswoman from the Wellington Airport. Passengers were also advise to contact their airlines or visit Wellington Airport's Web site for more information.
International flights have normal operations since they are not affected by New Zealand's weather.