Wild weather hits flights across New Zealand
Wellington: Air transport across New Zealand was disrupted on Friday as gale force winds lashed much of the country, uprooting trees, causing power blackouts and closing roads.
Air New Zealand said it had cancelled all flights to and from the capital Wellington, where wind gusts of 200 kilometres per hour were recorded when the storm moved in late Thursday.
The airline said services had also been suspended at Dunedin in the South Island, adding: "There are delays across the Air New Zealand network due to the weather conditions across the country."
A thick blanket of snow covered parts of the South Island, making alpine roads impassable and cutting off some communities.
In the North Island, about 30,000 homes were without power in Wellington, where schools were forced to close, rail services were cancelled and landslips shut suburban roads.
"The wind was just roaring all night, it felt like the house was going to blow away," Wellington resident Kylie Goodman said.
Emergency services said they had received about 1,000 calls for help, while police urged motorists to exercise extreme caution until an expected break in the weather forecast today.
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