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Weather: Wild winds ease, power still out for many

After a night of severe gales for many in the North Island, winds have eased and there are no new weather warnings for Thursday.

A line of severe thunderstorms crossed Auckland and hit Great Barrier Island on Wednesday.

At the height of the storms on Wednesday, winds reached 120km/h in some parts of Auckland, hail bucketed down, power was cut and lightning struck three aircraft.

NZTA said its crews dealt with some surface flooding, fallen trees and debris across the network.

Fire and Emergency attended more than 200 weather related callouts in Auckland on Wednesday.

Strong gales across the Auckland region had blown trees and vegetation onto powerlines causing damage and network faults. Power was still out for many early Thursday morning.

Lines companies' outage maps show some people have been cut off since Wednesday afternoon.

The severe weather has made it unsafe for crews to access and repair damaged equipment in some areas.

Vector said crews were working through the night to assess the damage and said some assessments and repair plans may not be complete until Thursday.

Northpower staff were trying to secure lines that had come down on State Highway 12 Wednesday night, causing cuts to 469 properties near Tinopai.

In Hamilton, 15,000 homes were without power for a while.

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Power was still out for some in Waikato early Thursday morning, including around Te Akau and Raglan.

The Desert Road (SH1 Rangipo to Waiouru) closed on Wednesday night due to snow and a detour was in place.

Air New Zealand said 14 of its regional services have been cancelled on Thursday because of the severe weather in the upper North Island.

This was a flow-on from Wednesday's disruptions rather than new weather related problems, it said.

Customers would be rebooked on the next available service.

On Wednesday 62 flights due to arrive or depart Auckland Airport were cancelled from 4pm.

Auckland Airport advised passengers to contact airlines directly for information about flight delays or cancellations but there were no weather alerts at the airport on Thursday morning.

Winds were forecast to remain blustery in many places on Thursday morning, MetService said.

The weather was expected to be pleasant for the long weekend.

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