1000 still without power in Rotorua (update)

By Anita Moran, Cherie Taylor


Rotorua was hit hard during last night's storm with about 1000 Rotorua residents still without power this morning after high wind gusts buffeted the region.

Unison communications manager Danny Gough said power went out about 9.45pm yesterday in Okawa Bay, Okere Falls, Ngakuru, Rotoma, Owhata and pockets of the Fairy Springs area in the city.

Power lines came down during the gusts in Bell Rd, Republican, Te Akau and TePuia Rds, Mr Gough said.

"Rotorua was hit hard with the front that came through. Strong winds have brought trees down and lines down in some areas," he said.

While some residents had power restored within three hours, many woke this morning to none.

Some rural Taupo residents are still without power after their power went out early on Monday.

Mr Gough said many would have power restored later today but some would not be reconnected until about midday Friday.

"We still have about 200 rural residents without power in the wide rural taupo area.

They are working hard to get everyone back on," he said.

Meanwhile, wind guts of 87km/ph buffeted Rotorua over night with 117km/ph clocked on the Mamaku Ranges Wednesday night, MetService weather forecaster John Law said.

Earlier story: Firefighters had a busy night across the region as wild weather bore down.

The Fire Service had more than 40 callouts in the Bay of Plenty, Rotorua and Coromandel areas as high winds and heavy rain hit overnight.

Northern Communications shift manager Scott Osmond told Radio Live callouts were mainly due to trees down and some roof damage.

The Daily Post had reports last night of power out at Brunswick Park and Mourea.

Skies are clear over Rotorua this morning but the forecast from MetService is for frequent showers from this afternoon.<inline type="photogallery" id="11716" align="outside" embed="no" />

Earlier story: Rural Rotorua and Taupo residents could be without power until Friday afternoon.

Debris and fallen trees have taken out powerlines and poles across the Rotorua, Taupo area cutting electricity to hundreds of residents. Crews have been working to restore power to residents but the continuing wind and rain was slowing progress.

A second burst of heavy rain in days is now moving into the Bay of Plenty and Coromandel.

Unison Customer Relations Manager Danny Gough said the weather front had caused significant challenges for the company.

He said about 500 residents were without power in Taupo and only a handful of people in rural Rotorua were still without power.

Mr Gough said workers were making good headway but people in rural areas could expect to be without power until about midday on Friday.

"It has been a really challenging few days for us," he said.

"Luckily Rotorua escaped the worst of it but Taupo was really hit pretty bad."

Mr Gough said it was mainly rural areas that workers were still trying to repair powerlines.

"The rural areas are a bit more of a challenge because there are a lot of trees over the powerlines so we are working with a lot of property owners to try and clear the trees away," he said.

"We understand that being without power for an extended period creates challenges for rural and urban customers and businesses, and we'll continue to put all our efforts into restoring supply as quickly as possible."

Meanwhile farmers are pleased they got off lightly in the recent bad weather.

Federated Farmers adverse events spokesman David Rose said farmers were used to large rainfalls at this time of year and were prepared having moved stock and stored additional food for them.

However, additional rain is forecast for today which farmers were keeping an eye on.

According to MetService forecasters Rotorua and Taupo are due to get another blast of strong winds and heavy rain overnight.

WeatherWatch.co.nz says the second burst of heavy rain in days is now moving into the Bay of Plenty and Coromandel - and just skirting the eastern side of Northland this afternoon.

Latest data and images show the main band of rain clearly feeding into Coromandel Peninsula and the Bay of Plenty.

It says the rain warnings in force by MetService are at the lowest end of the warning scale but are relevant given the big rainfall totals in days.

The bulk of the rain - and to a much lesser extent, the wind - will continue to feed in to Coromandel, the Bay of Plenty and East Cape/Gisborne for the rest of today.

WeatherWatch.co.nz says there is a moderate risk of surface flooding across the Bay of Plenty and Coromandel today with a moderate to high risk of slips.

Wind damage is not expected.

Conditions were expected to improve for the upper North Island on Thursday with the next burst of sub-tropical rain expected later on Saturday.

- ROTORUA DAILY POST

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