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24 Jul 2017 0:34
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  •   Home > News > Motoring

    Roads reopen as cold blast passes through

    Snow has eased about the North Island's Central Plateau and most roads have reopened but people still need to be careful.

    Wellington Airport
    Wellington Airport

    Most of the highways affected by this week's "beast of a storm" are open except for State Highway 1's Desert Road, where snow clearing work is continuing.

    New Zealand Transport Agency spokeswoman Karen Boyt is urging people to be patient and says freezing temperatures are expected on the Central Plateau overnight.

    "If you are travelling over the weekend you should drive to the conditions and expect to see crews working on the roads," she said on Friday evening.

    "Now that there is a way through the central North Island a lot of people will be trying to use the roads so everybody should also be patient."

    The MetService says the biggest wind gust in Wellington on Thursday was 167km/h at Mt Kaukau and the most rainfall was at the Wainuiomata Reservoir where 209mm fell compared to 50mm to 70mm in the city.

    The weekend weather will be mainly fine around the country.

    Skifields are trying to open for a busy school holidays weekend.

    There has been a dump of a metre of snow on Turoa and 40cm on Whakapapa in the central North Island.

    "There are massive, delicious wind drifts across the mountain which also means there are a few wind stripped spots that our groomers are working to cover," Turoa said in a Facebook post on Friday.

    In the South Island Mt Hutt had 67cm of new snow from the storm and had its access road open on Friday afternoon.

    Four families in the Rimutaka Forest Park and a group of experienced trampers in the Tararua Ranges were cut off by the weather on Thursday night, but have since made their way to safety.

    Flights have been departing from Wellington Airport on Friday, following delays and cancellations earlier in the week, but travellers are still advised to check ahead.

    Interislander ferries have resumed service for the first time since Wednesday.

    In an update on Friday evening lines company Eastland Network says its Wairoa network is still affected and those currently without power won't have it restored tonight.

    "The conditions and road closures are making repair work challenging in the extreme," the company said.

    Wellington Racing Club's prestige jumping events, scheduled for this Saturday at Trentham, have been rescheduled for next Thursday at Hastings.

    An inspection of the Trentham track on Friday morning forced stewards and club officials to make the call.

    © 2017 NZN, NZCity

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