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Waves lash beach areas

Last updated 05:00 18/03/2014
Father and son
SWIMMERS DETERMINED: A father and son were among dozens swimming at Orewa Beach on Saturday despite warnings to stay out of the water.

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Beaches including Orewa were being checked yesterday by Auckland Council staff to gauge damage from Cyclone Lusi.

But initial monitoring shows erosion is not as bad as first expected and can possibly be quickly remedied.

Waves - up to 7 metres off Leigh - and high tides combined with a full moon washed out sand from some areas.

Warnings were issued on Friday by Auckland Council Civil Defence controller Clive Manley that properties close to Snells Beach, Whangateau, Waiwera and Orewa were at risk with about 50 identified for evacuation if necessary.

"Initial inspections indicate that some beach erosion has occurred but no property damage has been reported to date," he says.

People were warned to stay off the beaches and out of the water but that didn't stop scores of surfers, kite boarders and others taking advantage of the swells, especially on Sunday when the weather cleared.

Winds gusting up to 113kmh on the Whangaparaoa Peninsula and elsewhere did the most damage, bringing down trees and cutting power to more than 6700 homes.

Power was out for many hours in Warkworth (affecting 836 customers), Wellsford (269), Port Albert (174), Stanmore Bay (1046), Arkles Bay (985), Stillwater (1119), Kumeu (69), Waimauku (1135) and South Head (1089) at the storm's height but Vector says most were restored by Sunday.

Lines came down on the corner of Herman St and McKenzie Ave in Arkles Bay on Saturday morning, cutting power to about 795 households. Residents say they heard a loud bang and saw a blue flash just before the lines fell.

Reports were received of a rockfall blocking the Hibiscus Coast Highway at Waiwera. Branches fell on Whangaparaoa Rd near The Plaza blocking part of the road and were quickly cleared by firefighters and Treescape.

Firefighters responded to about 40 incidents in the northern region - most in Northland but including Rodney and Mahurangi areas.

Auckland wide there were more than 100 incidents reported.

Northern fire communications manager Eric Smith says wind rather than rain caused most of the damage.

Centreway Rd in Orewa was closed between Pine Rd and Milton Rd after power lines came loose and the Silverdale Fire Service became concerned they would fall on a car or a pedstrian, station officer Adrian Rice says.

The crew attended just after dealing with a fallen tree that threatened powerlines further down Centreway Rd near Edgewater Rd.

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The roof of public toilets near the Orewa Surf Life Saving Club was checked by firefighters, satisfied there were no concerns after receiving reports it might be coming loose.

Further north people were warned away from beaches with heavy surf. Omaha beach was closed though wave damage to dunes was less than that of the last big weather event in September.

The weather also forced cancellation of many events.

The Coatesville Classic was delayed until March 23, sports fixtures were postponed and other events like some of the Outdoor Shakespeare performances on Saturday were cancelled - see P3. The storm's wide berth spared the Northland region and Auckland a direct hit, WeatherWatch says.

But it's expected to at least have people prepared for coming winter storms.

- Rodney Times

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