Teuila Fuatai

Teuila Fuatai is a reporter for the NZ Herald

Power restored after winds from polar blast

Power has been restored to all but 150 of the Taranaki properties who lost their supply as a result of Sunday's high winds.

Lines company Powerco's network operations manager Phil Marsh, said the company was continuing to make steady progress after power was cut to about 15,500 customers.

"Additional resources from other regions are helping with the clean-up, bringing the number of field staff to around 80. Crews have worked through the night to restore supply and will continue through the day," Mr Marsh said.

High winds also cut power to about 2500 properties in and around Wanganui yesterday afternoon, while snow caused power cuts in Taihape over the weekend. About 50 households remain without supply in these areas.

Mr Marsh said trees had caused the majority of problems snapping lines, cross-arms and poles.

"Many of the power cuts could have been avoided if people had contacted suitably qualified tree trimmers to have their trees cut or trimmed before they caused a problem."

The weather is set to improve in Taranaki and the lower North Island, at least in the short-term.

Despite at least three crashes caused by black ice in northern Taranaki this morning, two causing minor injuries, temperatures are set to rise.

MetService duty forecaster Mike O'Connor said a north-west flow was likely to ease icy temperatures in the central North Island this week.

"The weather's not looking too bad [and] it's mild conditions for the week."

Temperatures in Taranaki would reach about 15C in the next few days and the stormy winds had also passed, he said.

A snowfall warning for the Desert Road has been lifted and Wellington will also benefit from a warmer north-westerly flow. The worst of the windy conditions which have disrupted travel to and from the capital are over but Cook Strait ferry users were still experiencing delays this morning.

An Interislander spokeswoman said the service's first ferry from Wellington today, scheduled for 8.15am, was unlikely to leave until about 10am.

The ferry had been delayed from Picton and weather conditions would be monitored closely this morning, she said.

All Wellington airport flights were running as scheduled.

Further south, a front hanging over the lower South Island was expected to bring rain to West Coast and Fiordland.

Icy temperatures in Southland and Otago, which had shut roads and caused several traffic incidents, were forecast to ease through the week.

And while snow was still expected over the Southern Alps, Mr O'Connor said conditions would be relatively mild until Friday.

Some inland frosts would still occur - but that was nothing out of the ordinary, he said.

- APNZ

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