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Big clean up ahead

CARALISE TRAYES
Last updated 13:14 11/06/2014

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Cleanup will continue well into the weekend after this morning's near-hurricane winds caused extensive damage across the Hibiscus Coast and Rodney.

Winds of up to 150kmh hit the Whangaparaoa Peninsula after midnight, causing widespread destruction with trees down, power cuts, and debris strewn across roads and property.

Damage is estimated to run in to hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Trampolines and letter boxes turned into missiles and trees fell on lines, cutting power to about 20,0000 Auckland region homes and businesses at the storm's height, power supply company Vector said.

Nearly 70,000 customers lost power in the northern network but power has been restored to most by mid-morning.

More than 600 incidents were reported to emergency services, 126 of those were wind damage to buildings, Auckland Civil Defence said.

Seventeen of the buildings were considered significantly damaged.

Better weather is expected for the weekend, aiding cleanups, although Civil Defence warns king tides will occur during the weekend and next week.

Rain wasn't as bad as first feared in the Rodney region and Northland Civil Defence said its region escaped better than expected, despite two months worth of rain being dumped in three days.

170 millimetres of rain fell at Kaipara Flats in Rodney between 9am on Monday and 8am today, Roger MacKenzie of Horse Riding Warkworth said.

Rodney MP Mark Mitchell invited people affected by the storm to raise any issues or seek advice through him.

He was handling inquiries at Whangaparaoa Library this morning.

A HOPE AND PRAYER

An Orewa woman had a quick ''praying session'' when scaffolding blew off St John the Evangelist Catholic Church on to her roof in Grand Drive, Orewa.

Daphne Gilmore, 85, woke about 11pm and rang her landlord, who called emergency services, when she realised the framing was crashing against her fence.

''I was on the phone to him and all of a sudden there was a big crash and a big piece came down on the roof.''

Firefighters laid the scaffolding flat to prevent further damage.

Contractors arrived this morning to remove the damaged section on her roof.

Gilmore says the loud crash was the worst moment.

''It didn't really faze me,'' she says. ''I  did have a praying session for a bit though. That must have helped because nothing serious happened.''

CHAOS AT GARDEN CENTRE

Kings Plant Barn Silverdale manager Sheena McDonald was shocked to find three of their shed's big corrugated side panels littering the Hibiscus Coast Highway car park.

''I knew it would be a mess but I didn't expect to see this,'' she said.

''The whole side of the building was gone. We're used to plants being blown over and pots smashed but not like this.''

McDonald hoped to have repairs done by tomorrow with the business remaining open throughout.

''It's lucky it happened when it did at night and not when people are here,'' she said.

''That's the main thing, no-one got hurt.''

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- Rodney Times

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