Lightning, hail hit Auckland
CARALISE TRAYES, KARINA ABADIA AND MICHELLE ROBINSON
A massive thunder and lightning storm over Auckland last night damaged a dozen houses in the northern community of Stanmore Bay.
The storm wreaked havoc across Auckland between 9pm and 10pm.
Windows were blown out, walls damaged, treetops burnt, and several residents reported of the smell of smoke in their homes after one strike.
The top half of a Norfolk pine, believed to have been the point of contact for the lightning, snapped off and fell into a nearby section. The roots of the tree were unearthed and bark peeled off the trunk.
''I was in bed with my wife when it happened. It was loud and light. I went 'bugger'. The lady of the house yelled at me to get out of bed and check,'' resident George Bruce said.
St John Ambulance was called out to treat George's wife Kristina who was suffering from shock.
She was taken to North Shore Hospital and kept for observation overnight.
The Bruce's home sustained substantial damage with seven windows blown out, and boarding around the basement cracked.
The bolt that locked their garage shut had come right out of the concrete floor and the manual door opened itself.
Lightning was also being blamed for the couple's car, laptop, TV, and electronics not working this morning.
Two light bulbs were blown out of their sockets during the strike.
''One of our neighbours' car windscreen shattered.
Lateef Ismail said he was sitting in his lounge when the strike happened.
''There was an extraordinary crack. It was so loud in my ears. There was a big thump, like a boulder fell. It lasted a few seconds.''
Ismail's ranch slider window shattered and items fell off shelves around his home.
Across the road Shane Lear said there had been lightning going on throughout the evening but one bolt came right through the lounge.
''It blew things off the wall in the kitchen into the dog bowl in the dining room,'' Lear said.
''It shook the chairs and the whole house. Everything lit up horrendously.''
His partner Irina Gryukanova said she got such a fright she screamed.
''It was scary and shocking, it felt like fire,'' she says.
In East Auckland's Point England, lightning sent a tree smashing through a house.
Jill Browning said she heard a loud bang at about 9:45pm and jumped out of bed.
''I got emotional and started shaking. The front door had been smashed in and a big branch had gone through the roof and into the lounge. I didn't notice my room at first,'' she said.
The window of her bedroom had split in two by the large Norfolk pine and her son's room had holes in the wall and ceiling.
Two cars were damaged by falling debris and tree fragments were flung over a 400 metre area, hitting a person. Ambulance staff treated them for leg injuries.
Meanwhile passengers wanting to escape or enter the storm-ravaged capital were stranded at the airport as several flights were cancelled last night.
Passengers whose travel plans have been disrupted are asked to call Air New Zealand's contact centre on 0800 737 000 for further advice.
All other passengers travelling domestically are advised to consult the arrival and departure information on the Air New Zealand website for up to date schedule information.