Winter storm disrupts air traffic in New ZealandBy AP News Jun 21, 2013 12:37PM UTC
WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) — A winter storm bearing powerful winds disrupted air traffic across New Zealand on Friday as well as cutting power to some homes, forcing schools to close, and generating record-sized waves.
The capital Wellington got blasted with winds of more than 130 kilometers (81 miles) per hour. The gusts disrupted bus, rail and road transportation, brought down trees and power lines, and ripped tiles from suburban roofs. About 28,000 homes in Wellington lost power.
Ocean waves measuring 15 meters (49 feet) from trough to peak were recorded near Wellington by a government agency. The National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research said the waves, measured from a buoy about 2 kilometers (1.2 miles) out to sea, were the largest it had recorded near the capital since it began taking measurements in 1995. The waves washed away parts of some coastal roads and seawalls.
The storm also brought heavy snow to some parts of the South Island.
National carrier Air New Zealand cancelled all Wellington flights Friday morning and said it would resume limited services in the afternoon. It warned that passengers could expect ongoing disruptions and international flights to and from the capital would be affected. Some flights from Christchurch and Queenstown were also cancelled or delayed.
Forecasters expected conditions to improve Saturday.