More snow as winter misery continues

POM POM PICNIC: A table is covered in deep snow in Castle Hill.
1 of 16Elizabeth Hay
POM POM PICNIC: A table is covered in deep snow in Castle Hill.
DIG DEEP: A Castle Hill resident digs a path through deep snow.
2 of 16Elizabeth Hay
DIG DEEP: A Castle Hill resident digs a path through deep snow.
PICTURESQUE: The Port Hills can be seen from from Brougham St/Opawa Rd intersection at 10.30am.
3 of 16Dean Jones
PICTURESQUE: The Port Hills can be seen from from Brougham St/Opawa Rd intersection at 10.30am.
CRISP MORNING: Snow covers Christchurch city.
4 of 16Diane White
CRISP MORNING: Snow covers Christchurch city.
WINTER FUN: Children go sledding in Longhurst Tce.
5 of 16Diane White
WINTER FUN: Children go sledding in Longhurst Tce.
CLEAR MOMENT: Tessa Rait captures a break in the snowfall from her Hazeldean Rd workplace.
6 of 16Tessa Rait
CLEAR MOMENT: Tessa Rait captures a break in the snowfall from her Hazeldean Rd workplace.
SNOW: Ducks in Fitzgerald Ave.
7 of 16Eve Welch
SNOW: Ducks in Fitzgerald Ave.
WINTER'S ARRIVED: Snow in Rees St.
8 of 16Eve Welch
WINTER'S ARRIVED: Snow in Rees St.
SNOWY RIVER: Snow is scattered around Avonside about 8am.
9 of 16Agnelo Chandra
SNOWY RIVER: Snow is scattered around Avonside about 8am.
FLURRIES: Harry Ell Drive in Cashmere has been dusted with snow.
10 of 16Mel and Gill Peters
FLURRIES: Harry Ell Drive in Cashmere has been dusted with snow.
WHITE BLANKET: The view from Hamish Upton's lounge in Cashmere.
11 of 16Hamish Upton
WHITE BLANKET: The view from Hamish Upton's lounge in Cashmere.
PLAYTIME: Snow falls in the Garden City.
12 of 16Sarah Willis
PLAYTIME: Snow falls in the Garden City.
DUSTING: Snow in St Albans.
13 of 16Joydeep Goon
DUSTING: Snow in St Albans.
WHITE OUT: Snow in Cashmere.
14 of 16Jordan Vink
WHITE OUT: Snow in Cashmere.
TOO COLD TO SWIM: New Brighton Beach is covered in snow.
15 of 16Jodie Sara
TOO COLD TO SWIM: New Brighton Beach is covered in snow.
WONDERLAND: Snow thickly blankets these Huntsbury Hill homes.
16 of 16Tim McGinn
WONDERLAND: Snow thickly blankets these Huntsbury Hill homes.

Linesmen, sewerage workers and arborists are working in extreme conditions to restore and retain basic services in storm-affected areas.

They were responding to the trail of debris left by the large storm system lingering over the country after tearing its way north on Thursday and Friday, causing great damage across the South Island and in the Wellington region.

In Christchurch, persistent heavy rains have flooded the city’s sewer system with a city council spokeswoman commenting it’s ‘‘chocker’’. The flooding was causing some overflows.

There was also surface flooding in some parts of the city, particularly around the Heathcote River in the Beckenham and lower Cashmere areas. Some nearby roads were closed.

The Christchurch City Council said king tides were expected from tomorrow through to Thursday and were likely to cause further flooding around the lower Avon and Heathcote rivers.

In Wellington, heavy rain continued to fall this afternoon causing a stream of calls to the city council from residents regarding flooded drains.

A man picks his way through debris washed up along Port Rd in Seaview.
1 of 74CRAIG SIMCOX/Fairfax NZ
A man picks his way through debris washed up along Port Rd in Seaview.
Contractors start to remove a large tree from an Owhiro Rd home.
2 of 74MAARTEN HOLL/Fairfax NZ
Contractors start to remove a large tree from an Owhiro Rd home.
Residents putting a tarpaulin over a storm-damaged home at Queens Drive, Lyall Bay.
3 of 74ROSS GIBLIN/Fairfax NZ
Residents putting a tarpaulin over a storm-damaged home at Queens Drive, Lyall Bay.
Seawater hits Eastbourne's Lowry Bay as high tide approaches.
4 of 74SAM GORHAM
Seawater hits Eastbourne's Lowry Bay as high tide approaches.
A boat from Porirua Harbour strikes boat sheds.
5 of 74KATE ADAMS
A boat from Porirua Harbour strikes boat sheds.
Roofs and trees litter the streets of Kelson, Lower Hutt.
6 of 74FALGOON PATEL
Roofs and trees litter the streets of Kelson, Lower Hutt.
Two massive trees block road access down from Korokoro.
7 of 74JULIET RAMSON
Two massive trees block road access down from Korokoro.
The Interislander ferry at anchor in Wellington harbour after its moorings broke in the night.
8 of 74MATHIEU CHARDONNET
The Interislander ferry at anchor in Wellington harbour after its moorings broke in the night.
A seaside Days Bay bach gets pummeled by the sea.
9 of 74MARK SLIPER
A seaside Days Bay bach gets pummeled by the sea.
Reece Kohatu looks at the damage done by the waves at his Queens Drive Lyall Bay property.
10 of 74PHIL REID/Fairfax NZ
Reece Kohatu looks at the damage done by the waves at his Queens Drive Lyall Bay property.
A fell tree on Maungaraki Road.
11 of 74MAARTEN HOLL/Fairfax NZ
A fell tree on Maungaraki Road.
Sea water made it into Reece Kohatu's Lyall Bay property.
12 of 74PHIL REID/Fairfax NZ
Sea water made it into Reece Kohatu's Lyall Bay property.
Trees ripped out of the ground in Petone.
13 of 74Roscoe Hatton
Trees ripped out of the ground in Petone.
A yacht that couldn't stand the wind.
14 of 74MAARTEN HOLL/Fairfax NZ
A yacht that couldn't stand the wind.
Lowry Bay, overtaken with waves.
15 of 74Adrian Watkins
Lowry Bay, overtaken with waves.
Storm debris in Petone.
16 of 74
Storm debris in Petone.
Storm damage in Petone.
17 of 74MAARTEN HOLL/Fairfax NZ
Storm damage in Petone.
Storm damage in Korokoro.
18 of 74Dave Jackman
Storm damage in Korokoro.
Debris on Petone Beach near the Settlers Museum. Waves went over the wall between the beach and the street.
19 of 74GERALD DAVIDSON
Debris on Petone Beach near the Settlers Museum. Waves went over the wall between the beach and the street.
Storm damage in Southgate.
20 of 74Mark Green
Storm damage in Southgate.
A tug boats attempts to tow the Interislander.
21 of 74Rowena Brown
A tug boats attempts to tow the Interislander.
Damage at Jim and Philippa Reid's Seatoun house.
22 of 74
Damage at Jim and Philippa Reid's Seatoun house.
Debris on Owhiro Bay.
23 of 74Nikki Macdonald
Debris on Owhiro Bay.
Debris on Days Bay.
24 of 74Matt Hayes
Debris on Days Bay.
A separated door on Breaker Bay.
25 of 74PHIL REID/Fairfax NZ
A separated door on Breaker Bay.
Damage to a bus in Southgate.
26 of 74Mark Green
Damage to a bus in Southgate.
Severe damage in Lower Hutt.
27 of 74Annemarie Jenness
Severe damage in Lower Hutt.
A fish that made it all the way across the road on Owhiro Bay.
28 of 74Nikki Macdonald
A fish that made it all the way across the road on Owhiro Bay.
The cleanup begins on Breaker Bay.
29 of 74PHIL REID/Fairfax NZ
The cleanup begins on Breaker Bay.
A huge Eucalyptus tree in Khandallah Park.
30 of 74Tony Stoddard
A huge Eucalyptus tree in Khandallah Park.
Storm damage in Belmont.
31 of 74MAARTEN HOLL/Fairfax NZ
Storm damage in Belmont.
Callum Norrie of Breaker Bay inspects the debris.
32 of 74PHIL REID/Fairfax NZ
Callum Norrie of Breaker Bay inspects the debris.
Nicholas Down, who lost his roof in Stokes Valley.
33 of 74MAARTEN HOLL/Fairfax NZ
Nicholas Down, who lost his roof in Stokes Valley.
A greenhouse in Brooklyn that didn't survive the night.
34 of 74Marc Weir
A greenhouse in Brooklyn that didn't survive the night.
Storm debris on Owhiro Bay.
35 of 74Michael Hobbs
Storm debris on Owhiro Bay.
An unlucky car on Mount Victoria.
36 of 74Simon Hodge
An unlucky car on Mount Victoria.
David Morgan sent in this photo of damaged train tracks on the Hutt Valley line.
37 of 74David Morgan
David Morgan sent in this photo of damaged train tracks on the Hutt Valley line.
Storm debris on Owhiro Bay.
38 of 74Michael Hobbs
Storm debris on Owhiro Bay.
Storm damage on Myrtle Crescent.
39 of 74Peggy McConnell
Storm damage on Myrtle Crescent.
A fallen tree in Aro Park.
40 of 74Petrina Bonnington-Evans
A fallen tree in Aro Park.
Storm damage at the Wellington Indoor Sports Centre in Newtown.
41 of 74Andrew Matsuoka-Webbe
Storm damage at the Wellington Indoor Sports Centre in Newtown.
Storm damage in Island Bay.
42 of 74Leigh Sturgiss
Storm damage in Island Bay.
Damage to train tracks near Horokiwi.
43 of 74KEVIN STENT/Fairfax NZ
Damage to train tracks near Horokiwi.
The damaged carpark at Ekim Burgers in Lyall Bay.
44 of 74Facebook/Ekim Burgers
The damaged carpark at Ekim Burgers in Lyall Bay.
Inspectors check train tracks near Horokiwi.
45 of 74KEVIN STENT/Fairfax NZ
Inspectors check train tracks near Horokiwi.
Storm damage by the coast at Island Bay.
46 of 74PHIL REID/Fairfax NZ
Storm damage by the coast at Island Bay.
A fallen tree on Ellice Street, which thankfully fell between two cars.
47 of 74Patrick Tuapola
A fallen tree on Ellice Street, which thankfully fell between two cars.
A crushed Breaker Bay boatshed.
48 of 74PHIL REID/Fairfax NZ
A crushed Breaker Bay boatshed.
A damaged sign in central Wellington.
49 of 74Jay Wards
A damaged sign in central Wellington.
Council workers deal with a fallen tree on Rangiora Ave.
50 of 74Nikki Franklin
Council workers deal with a fallen tree on Rangiora Ave.
Damage to the Warehouse in Lyall Bay.
51 of 74PHIL REID/Fairfax NZ
Damage to the Warehouse in Lyall Bay.
Trees down in Whitby.
52 of 74ROSS GIBLIN/Fairfax NZ
Trees down in Whitby.
Glen Scanlon sent in this photo of his backyard in Hataitai.
53 of 74GLEN SCANLON/Fairfax NZ
Glen Scanlon sent in this photo of his backyard in Hataitai.
Storm damage to the Esplanade on Wellington's south coast.
54 of 74PHIL REID/Fairfax NZ
Storm damage to the Esplanade on Wellington's south coast.
Damage to Wellington south coast's Esplanade.
55 of 74PHIL REID/Fairfax NZ
Damage to Wellington south coast's Esplanade.
A toppled tree disturbs a grave at Karori Cemetery.
56 of 74AARON MISHKIN
A toppled tree disturbs a grave at Karori Cemetery.
A shredded sail of a yacht at Mana Marina.
57 of 74ROSS GIBLIN/Fairfax NZ
A shredded sail of a yacht at Mana Marina.
A Z Mana service station employee with his store's blown-in window this morning.
58 of 74ROSS GIBLIN/Fairfax NZ
A Z Mana service station employee with his store's blown-in window this morning.
A parking booth toppled over at Wellington Stadium.
59 of 74MATT BULL
A parking booth toppled over at Wellington Stadium.
Both of Hannah Moore's family's trampolines took a tumble during the storm.
60 of 74HANNAH MOORE
Both of Hannah Moore's family's trampolines took a tumble during the storm.
Debris from a ripped-off roof litters the grounds of the Raumati South Memorial Hall.
61 of 74LUCY HUDSON
Debris from a ripped-off roof litters the grounds of the Raumati South Memorial Hall.
Waves crash at the coast at Plimmerton.
62 of 74ROSS GIBLIN/Fairfax NZ
Waves crash at the coast at Plimmerton.
South coast resident Karen Brodie with a fish she found washed up on the Esplanade.
63 of 74PHIL REID/Fairfax NZ
South coast resident Karen Brodie with a fish she found washed up on the Esplanade.
The storm-ravaged Esplanade on Wellington's south coast.
64 of 74PHIL REID/Fairfax NZ
The storm-ravaged Esplanade on Wellington's south coast.
A ute lies smashed by a falling tree.
65 of 74CRAIG SIMCOX/Fairfax NZ
A ute lies smashed by a falling tree.
A tree lies fallen across Fox St at the intersection with Awarua Rd, Ngaio.
66 of 74ZAR LILLEY
A tree lies fallen across Fox St at the intersection with Awarua Rd, Ngaio.
Damage to Countdown in Johnsonville.
67 of 74Adam Woollett
Damage to Countdown in Johnsonville.
Firefighters tend to a tree down in Pharazyn St, Lower Hutt.
68 of 74PHIL REID/Fairfax NZ
Firefighters tend to a tree down in Pharazyn St, Lower Hutt.
A tree which blew over at the back of a student accommodation building on Boulcott St, narrowly missing a car.
69 of 74LUKE APPLEBY/Fairfax NZ
A tree which blew over at the back of a student accommodation building on Boulcott St, narrowly missing a car.
A tree which blew over at the back of a student accommodation building on Boulcott St, narrowly missing a car.
70 of 74LUKE APPLEBY/Fairfax NZ
A tree which blew over at the back of a student accommodation building on Boulcott St, narrowly missing a car.
Damage to a parking ticket machine shelter on Victoria St.
71 of 74LUKE APPLEBY/Fairfax NZ
Damage to a parking ticket machine shelter on Victoria St.
Trees broken by the storm on Victoria St in central Wellington.
72 of 74LUKE APPLEBY/Fairfax NZ
Trees broken by the storm on Victoria St in central Wellington.
An overturned parking ticket machine shelter on Victoria St in central Wellington.
73 of 74LUKE APPLEBY/Fairfax NZ
An overturned parking ticket machine shelter on Victoria St in central Wellington.
Torrential rain affects Wellington commuters as they head home.
74 of 74CRAIG SIMCOX/Fairfax NZ
Torrential rain affects Wellington commuters as they head home.

Spokesman Richard MacLean said the council was advising residents to attempt to clear the drain blockages themselves where safe.

About 1500 Wellington residents remained without power this afternoon after it initially went out in the overnight Thursday storm that barrelled the city with wind gusts of up to 200kmh.

Wellington Electricity was optimistic most of these households would have power restored by tonight.

RAIN RADAR: Yellow areas mark the rain.
METSERVICE
RAIN RADAR: Yellow areas mark the rain.

Meanwhile, arborists and other council staff were clearing the trail of debris left by the storm. More than 500 trees had been reported down with 50 council staff working 24 hours to clear the priorities.

Also battered in the storm was the Marlborough region where many roads remained only passable by 4WD.

Power was also out for many in rural areas, but Marlborough Lines operations manger Brian Tapp said about 120 customers from Kekerengu to Clarence had had their electricity restored today.

WARM AND DRY: Carter Lockwood, 2, bounces on the bed after his mum Shannon Lockwood, right, grandmother Pam Greenlee and  her partner Phil Roache took refuge in central Wellington  for the night.
CHRIS SKELTON/Fairfax NZ
WARM AND DRY: Carter Lockwood, 2, bounces on the bed after his mum Shannon Lockwood, right, grandmother Pam Greenlee and her partner Phil Roache took refuge in central Wellington for the night.

‘‘We have 40 staff out working on high voltage lines first and then moving onto low voltage lines,’’ said Tapp.

‘‘We are working as quickly as we can but the main emphasis is on working safely and making things safe first.’’

Tapp could not guarantee that every customer would have their power restored to all by the end of the weekend.

CANTERBURY FLOODING

South of Christchurch in Leeston, firefighters were this morning rushing to stack sandbags at flood-prone properties as rising water levels started to threaten homes and businesses.

Ongoing flooding had been affecting the Selwyn township since heavy rain started falling last weekend with about 170mm of rain drenching the area over the last 10 days, Leeston fire chief Noel Thian said.

Leeston's volunteer firefighters received about 14 calls for help from flood-prone property owners this morning.

Thian said the calls started coming through at about 8am and he expected to be kept busy through most of the day as the rain continued to fall.

The main problem was a creek running through the centre of the town, which had burst its banks and caused flooding on High St and around the fire station itself on Gallipoli St.

"It hasn't gone into any buildings, but there's not a lot we can do. We can't pump because we've got nowhere to pump it to."

Thian advised residents to watch their sewer systems and household water supplies.

"The sewer is inundated with water at the moment," he said.

IN THE NORTH

Rain was also affecting the upper half of the North Island with showery conditions expected all weekend.

"Both today and tomorrow, it's going to continue to be showery. Not particularly heavy showers, just passing showers," said Brooke Lockheart, Metservice forecaster.

Temperatures from Auckland to the top of the North Island would reach highs of 14C and lows 5C.

"So it's still pretty chilly, we've also got fresh south-westerly winds passing through," said Lockheart.

SNOW WATCH

Overnight in the North Canterbury district of Hurunui heavy snowfalls brought down power lines and trees, cutting water supplies to one rural area.

The overnight storm also brought driving wind and rain to coastal and southern areas with strong gales bringing down power lines and dozens of trees between Cheviot and Amberley.

 MetService was expecting snow to continue to fall in high areas issuing snowfall warnings for inland parts of Canterbury and southern Marlborough where further significant accumulations were expected above about 300 metres.

For the central North Island, further snow was expected above 700m on the central plateau, but the heaviest falls and largest accumulations today were restricted to the Ruahine Range, where heavy snow was forecast above 800m with lesser falls to near 500m.

"These further snowfalls will prolong disruption to travellers, especially about higher roads and alpine passes in both Islands," MetService said.

"Snow lying in rural areas is likely to take several days to melt."

In the deep south MetService said a few light snow showers were still possible to low levels in parts of Otago and Southland, but were forecast to clear later today. The threat of further significant snow accumulations had passed.

MetService was expecting the polar blast to ease nationwide over the course of the weekend.

SKIFIELD SMILES

The freezing winter storm has brought a bumper start to the season for The Remarkables ski area, but at Mt Hutt so much snow has fallen that access to the skifield is blocked.

The Remarkables was opening the season today with some of the best snow conditions seen in years, with the entire mountain open, nzski.com said.

Overnight another 4cm of dry powder snow fell, adding to an average base of 90cm.

In contrast, Mt Hutt was closed as further heavy snowfalls and low visibility hampered snow clearing on the access road, nzski.com said.

An estimated 1.8 metres of snow had fallen since the storm started, with drifts more than 3m deep in many areas. All lifts were heavily caked in ice.

AIRLINE PLAYS CATCH UP

Air New Zealand is running extra services into Wellington today to cater for passengers whose flights were disrupted by the severe weather of the past two days.

Weather was still causing a problem for Queenstown airport late morning, and flights between Queenstown and Christchurch and Wellington were being cancelled, the airline said.

All domestic jet flights were operating, but there were late running services throughout the network. The vast majority of regional services provided by Air New Zealand Link were also operating.

HIGHWAYS AFFECTED

On the Desert Rd snow showers were still possible about and south of the summit today, although most were expected this evening and overnight before clearing. Another 5cm to 10cm should accumulate above 800m, MetService said.

The Desert Rd was reopened to traffic this morning, but the NZ Transport Agency was urging drivers to take extra care.

In the South Island MetService has forecast further snow for the Lewis Pass with 5cm to 10cm falling throughout today. It should clear overnight.

For Porters Pass another 10-15cm was expected on higher parts of the road today, with the weather clearing late tonight.

Only a few more snow flurries were expected for Lindis Pass this morning, while for Arthurs Pass a few light snow showers were possible until noon or early afternoon.

In the South Island, sections of highway closed by snow included Arthurs Pass, Lindis Pass, Burkes Pass.

FLOODING WOES

Snow, sleet and heavy rain caused havoc across rural Canterbury yesterday, flooding farms and bringing down trees.

Tai Tapu farm owner Andrew Florance said two-thirds of his 120-hectare farm was under water by midday yesterday, thanks to heavy rain and an outdated drainage system.

"Depending on what happens now we will be wet until the end of August," he said.

His 180 cows were being mainly kept on 40 acres of hill country to keep them as dry as possible.

Only some of the feed they put on the ground was able to be eaten as it was either trampled by the animals, or sunk into the ground.

Federated Farmers Mid-Canterbury president Chris Allen also had a flooded farm.

Like other farmers he was feeding up to double what he usually would since the stock were burning a lot of energy to keep warm.

"You might have had a reasonable amount of feed but they are not getting enough in their stomachs because the ground is just so sodden."

Allen said all farmers could do was feed out as much as possible and move stock to more sheltered areas.

"The concern is how long will it go on for."

INSURANCE CLAIMS FLOOD IN

The wild weather has seen insurance companies flooded with hundreds of claims and calls for assistance.

Insurers AMI and State said most claims in Wellington after Thursday night's storm were for wind, tree and water damage to houses, roofing and fences.

Craig Dowling, spokesman for the two companies, said they were also receiving claims for damage to outdoor items such as garden furniture and trampolines. Both expect the number of claims to rise over the next three or four days.

AA Insurance spokeswoman Amelia Macandrew said the company received more than 160 claims from Wellington customers yesterday and was expecting more as residents felt safe enough to leave their homes and assess the damage.

"We've had about 10 claims involving trampolines. Either people losing their trampolines into the neighbour's backyard or people getting the neighbour's trampoline in their backyard."

The Wellington region was also dominating claims to insurance company Tower after all the snow, wind and rain that battered the country in the past week.

Spokeswoman Tracey Palmer said the company had received about 150 weather-related claims.

"Claims ranged from roofs being blown off homes, to trees on rooftops, damage to fences and flooded carpets," she said.

Dowling said most claims from South Island customers had been for flooding, roof leaks, wind damage and some snow damage around spouting and roofing.

Terry Jordan, operations manager for the Insurance Council of New Zealand, said companies across the board had experienced large spikes in claims, but it would be a few days before the full financial impact of the storm was known.

Thursday's storm could potentially be the biggest weather event, insurance-wise, in the lower North Island since floods devastated the region in 2004, he said.

The Dominion Post