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Northland savaged by storm

Breaking Earth News
New Zealand
Photo: The Kerikeri River rages under the Stone Store bridge as emergency plans are put in place to save historic treasures at the Stone Store and Kemp House.

Northlanders are being warned that heavy rain and strong winds which are wreaking havoc in the region aren't about to end any time soon. A state of emergency was declared in the Far North this afternoon as houses had power cut off, roofs were lifted and areas became sodden after receiving a month's rainfall in 12 hours. "We're bracing ourselves and expecting things to get worse." A storm-swollen Kerikeri River was raging within metres of the town's historic Stone Store. An access bridge to the store was under threat of being swept away. Water was up to the railings and the situation was expected to worsen at high tide, around 4pm. The river during the March floods was higher at this stage but during those floods residents did not have to contend with gale-force winds which were today excaberating the situation. Damage was much more widespread than in March. The deluge over Kaeo (171 mm of rain in 11 hours) is roughly double that of the Mangamuka area, which had recorded the next highest rainfall over the same period - 112mm. The MetService says up to 250mm of rain could fall in parts of Northland over the next 24 hours, especially about the central and eastern hills. The bad weather was starting to hit Auckland this evening, making travel difficult and forcing Ontrack to cut speeds to commuter rail services. Winds in excess of 140kph were also expected overnight in Northland, Auckland and Coromandel.

Updated information - including road closures and weather warnings - are posted on the Northland Regional Council website.

ON THE RADAR: The top of New Zealand can expect severe weather, rain and flooding over the next 24 hours.
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