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Winter storm disrupts air traffic in New Zealand

Friday - 6/21/2013, 4:00am  ET

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) -- Officials say a winter storm is causing nearly 50-foot ocean waves, 81 mph winds and heavy snow in New Zealand.

The storm caused power outages, disrupted air traffic and forced school closings.

The high winds hit the capital, Wellington, disrupting bus, rail and road transportation, bringing down trees and power lines, and ripping tiles from suburban roofs. About 28,000 homes in Wellington lost power.

Ocean waves measuring 49 feet were recorded near Wellington by a government agency.

The storm also brought heavy snow to some parts of the South Island.

National carrier Air New Zealand has canceled all Wellington flights for the morning hours.

Forecasters expect conditions to improve Saturday.

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