More winter chills on way

The mercury is rising but the respite will be short-lived - another cold snap looms.

The wintry blast that has caused havoc around the country is easing its icy grip but forecasters warn more of the same is on the way.

Strong winds cut power in some centres and halted ferries and flights in Wellington as a southerly worked its way up the country, closing roads because of ice, snow, slips and felled trees.

More than 500 homes and businesses were still without power in Taranaki last night after it was cut to some 15,500 properties on Sunday by trees pulling down overhead lines.

Powerco network operations manager Phil Marsh said additional field staff from other regions had been called to assist in the clean-up and to help respond to new faults.

In Wellington, Cook Strait ferry services resumed after heavy seas whipped up by the bad weather halted them. Several more flights were delayed at Wellington Airport yesterday morning after many were cancelled on Sunday. An airport spokeswoman said a backlog of passengers was being cleared.

Queenstown saw traffic chaos, with a van crashing into a power pole on Robins Rd late on Saturday, knocking out power.

On Sunday, a vehicle travelling south to Kingston on the Devil's Staircase slid on ice and off the road and a woman was taken to hospital.

Police received several calls for help from motorists on roads around Coronet Peak.

Mandatory chains for vehicles were enforced on Sunday morning around Arthurs Point.

Meanwhile, on the up side, WeatherWatch says a high will push into many parts of the country over coming days, especially the North Island. But Kiwis will barely have time to appreciate the settled weather before it is followed by another low.

"This is what we mean when we say we have a chaotic weather pattern this winter - we can get the big southerlies but also big warm, wet, lows," head weather analyst Philip Duncan said.

"In true chaotic fashion, the wintry weather today will give way to warmer weather later this week and early next week, then again gives way to yet another cold southwest change late next week."

Mercury low-points

Coldest spots in the 24 hours to 6pm Sunday.
Mt Hutt: -11C at 6pm Sunday.
Mid Dome, Southland: -4.6C at 6pm Sunday.
Desert Rd: -4.3C at midnight Sunday.

Weather for today

Auckland: Fine, morning frost. Southerlies.
13C high, 6C overnight.
Tauranga: Fine spells. Southerlies.
14C high, 3C overnight.
Wellington: Showers, sleety at times. Strong southerlies, easing.
11C high, 8C overnight.

- APNZ, additional reporting

- Otago Daily Times

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