Live: Storm wreaks havoc across the country

A Taranaki town has been hit by tornadoes, ferry crossings over Cook Strait have been cancelled and there are warnings of heavy snow on the Desert Road.

A low is bringing snow to the South, and rain, gales, lightning and tornadoes are hitting the North Island from the west, cutting power to thousands and ripping roofs off homes.

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Earlier, tornadoes were spotted in Ōpunake and National Park Village, with Civil Defence reporting widespread damage including houses losing roofs.

At least nine schools in the area closed for the day due to the weather, and several flights in and out of New Plymouth were cancelled. All Cook Strait ferry sailings, except the Interislander‘s 8.30pm Wellington to Picton service, have been cancelled for the day.

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