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Powerful storm strikes New Zealand with damaging winds, tornadoes and flooding

By Eric Leister, AccuWeather senior meteorologist
April 11, 2018, 7:51:12 AM EDT

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A powerful storm caused damage and widespread travel disruption across much of New Zealand from Tuesday into Wednesday.

Northern parts of South Island and North Island felt the brunt of the storm which brought tornadoes, damaging winds, flooding and snow.

A pair of reported tornadoes caused significant damage in National Park Village and Taranaki on Tuesday, according to Radio New Zealand.

New Zealand 4/10

Satellite image of the storm near New Zealand Tuesday afternoon, local time. Courtesy of the New Zealand Met Office.


The tornado in Taranaki destroyed several homes and severely damaged others as it tore through the community Tuesday morning.

While thunderstorms and tornadoes lashed some areas, the storm brought snowfall above 400 meters across South Island with significant accumulations to the highest passes.

Areas from Wellington to Auckland were battered by damaging winds and flooding downpours on Tuesday.

New Zealand Tornado 4/10


Rainfall totaled 50-75 mm (2-3 inches) in the Wellington area on Tuesday with frequent wind gusts over 80 km/h (50 mph).

Additional thunderstorms and powerful winds battered the city on Wednesday.

A lightning strike knocked out lighting at Wellington Airport causing all flights to be canceled for a time Wednesday evening, according to Radio New Zealand.

In Auckland, wind gusts up to 105 km/h (65 mph) were reported resulting in more than 100,000 power outages during the height of the storm.

Around 80,000 homes remained without power in the Auckland area on Wednesday night.

The powerful winds caused a tree to fall on a car, resulting in injuries to the driver in the Auckland suburb of Kingsland on Tuesday evening, according to Stuff.co.nz.

The strong winds also forced operations at the international airport to a halt during the worst of the storm.

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While Christchurch dodged the harshest winds from the storm, around 50 mm (2 inches) of rain fell on the city and caused travel disruptions.

The storm also brought the lowest daytime temperatures since September to much of the country on Wednesday and Wednesday night.

Another storm will arrive from Thursday into Friday and bring additional rainfall, but it will turn milder and winds will not be as strong.

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