20 Jul 2016

Heavy winds buffet North Island

9:55 am on 20 July 2016

The Fire Service has been kept busy overnight with high winds battering parts of the North Island.

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Photo: 123rf

Fire crews responded to 26 weather related incidents, with trees blown down in Hamilton and Auckland's Henderson.

Northern communications shift manager Daniel Nicholson said one home in Te Awamutu had a chimney topple over and a fallen tree put a hole in its roof.

The home's owner said a tornado had gone through the house on Laurie Street, Mr Nicholson said, but there were no injuries.

MetService said frequent gusts in Auckland last night reached 100km/h and up to 128km/h at Manukau Heads and around the Hauraki Gulf.

It placed a severe weather watch for severe gales across exposed parts of Auckland, Coromandel, Bay of Plenty and Waikato until late morning.

New Zealand Transport Agency said a strong wind warning was in place for the Auckland Harbour Bridge and it urged motorcyclists and high-sided vehicles to take care.

There was also a high likelihood on Friday and Saturday of severe gales across much of the country's east coast - from Bay of Plenty to Ōāmaru - and heavy rain on the South Island's West Coast.

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