News | Environment
19 Feb 2018 17:20
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  •   Home > News > Environment

    Tail end of cold blast to pack a punch

    The wintry weather that has moved up through New Zealand is coming to an end, but forecasters say more snow, rain and gales are to come.

    Wellington Airport
    Wellington Airport

    The tail end of the cold blast that has swept the country over the past three days is set bring more snow, rain and severe southerly gales to central New Zealand.

    MetService says the biggest dumpings of snow on Friday will be in the central North Island high country, including parts of Hawke's Bay and Manawatu above 600 metres.

    The lower North Island, especially Wairarapa, Wellington, Kapiti and higher parts of Manawatu, can expect heavy rain.

    Meanwhile, southerly gales are predicted to continue to blow through the Marlborough Sounds, Wellington, Wairarapa and Taranaki.

    MetService says the winds have eased slightly, but gusts of 120 km/h are likely.

    Gusts reached 155.9km/h in Wellington on Thursday, producing a white-knuckle ride for passengers on flights that were able to land at the airport.

    Roofs were also torn from homes and Wellington City Council appealed for trampolines to be tied down, with several having landed in trees or been wrapped around lampposts.

    Power company staff have been kept busy working to reconnect more than 10,000 properties that lost electricity in the Wellington and Manawatu-Whanganui regions.

    In the central North Island, Ruapehu District Council emergency operations centre controller Clive Manley says the power is back on in Ohakune, Raetihi, National Park and Whakapapa.

    However, it was still cut in some isolated areas, like Waiouru Military Camp.

    Mr Manley says all state highways and local roads through the Central Plateau and Waimarino remain closed.

    However, the council is optimistic the snow can be cleared for them to reopen on Friday afternoon, although the driving conditions will still be difficult.

    Stretches of several other highways around the country are closed, including the inland route (SH70) to Kaikoura, leaving the quake-affected town cut off.

    © 2018 NZN, NZCity

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