Trail of destruction across district

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QUEENSTOWNERS continue to pick up the pieces after gale-force winds thrashed the resort. 

Gusts blowing at up to 130kmh left a trail of destruction across the Wakatipu on Monday evening – with whitewater swells and twisters on Lake Wakatipu showing the fierce strength. 

Thousands of residents suffered power blackouts as power poles and electricity cables were brought down. Dozens of huge trees were snapped like matchsticks and homes, cars and gardens were damaged. 

Arthurs Point, Fernhill and other parts of Queenstown bore the brunt of the brutal weather. No one was killed or seriously injured but there were several close scrapes. 

Queenstown Lakes District Council communications officer Jo Blick says she saw a mini twister from her Poole Lane kitchen window. 

“There was a great big line of breakwater and then you could see little water spouts coming off it. 

“It was quite bizarre.” 

Power was cut off to some neighbourhoods for more than 40 hours. 

Then, after Delta Utilities contractors had worked around the clock to restore supplies, a transmission line between Clyde and Twizel was struck by lightning. 

The whole of Central Otago was plunged into darkness for about 15 minutes at 10.30pm on Tuesday. Some Queenstown businesses faced short-term computer and telephone problems on Wednesday as a result. 

Arthurs Point resident Lorraine Shand says: “Monday was scary – quite an interesting night for everyone.”

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