Cyclone Wilma lashes New Zealand, brings floods

The cyclone brings flooding, landslides which cut highways, power blackouts.

Updated: Jan 29, 2011, 12:49 PM IST

Wellington: Tropical cyclone Wilma lashed the top of New Zealand early Saturday, bringing widespread flooding and landslides which cut highways and power blackouts.

The fire service in Auckland, the country`s largest city, reported more than 400 emergency calls in the 11 hours to dawn, including one after a cliffside house collapsed onto a beach on Waiheke Island.

Two people were reported stuck up trees for more than four hours as rescuers battled floodwaters to try to reach them.

The Northland province was the worst hit, though gale force winds and torrential rain also lashed Auckland, the Coromandel Peninsula, Bay of Plenty, Gisborne, the Waikato region, Tauranga and Rotorua.

Police in many areas said roads were impassable and advised people to stay at home.

The MetService said the cyclone was moving away from the country to the south-east and conditions would ease throughout Saturday.

IANS