Trees down and power out in parts of Taranaki

LYN HUMPHREYS
Last updated 05:00 22/06/2013

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South Taranaki felt the effects of the storm that battered much of the country, but the north of the region went virtually unscathed.

While the sun came out in North Taranaki yesterday and the winds were minimal, South Taranaki was given a whipping by gale-force winds on Thursday night.

Waverley chief fire officer Alan Hickford said he and his team had a sleepless night with callouts to weather-related incidents.

Powerlines were down on State Highway 3 south of the township, windows blown in on a house in Waverley and a section of roof came off a house in Maxwell.

"When we first went out it was difficult to stand up," Mr Hickford said.

"The power went off about 11.30pm and did not come on until about 3am."

Trees had been blown down in Mangatangi Rd and fences flattened. The winds started to drop yesterday morning, Mr Hickford said.

Powerco network operations manager Phil Marsh said about 200 houses were without power in Taranaki.

Whanganui was the hardest hit on Powerco's electricity network, with about 2000 properties losing power.

Field staff were working on restoring power as quickly and safely as possible.

Rugby fans heading to Yarrow Stadium tonight are being advised to rug up and prepare for a shower or two in the early stages of the game.

MetService meteorologist Daniel Corbett said yesterday a trough was expected to bring showery weather across Taranaki in the early afternoon. Fans were advised to take a rain-proof layer over warm clothing to deal with temperatures that should drop from 12 degrees Celsius during the day to about 8 or 9 degrees at nightfall. There would possibly be a shower or two around until kick-off but winds should have eased back by then.

Mr Corbett said North Taranaki had escaped the worst of the weather because it was sheltered by Mt Taranaki.

"You can thank the mountain."

The upper end of Egmont Rd was closed after about 200mm of snow fell beyond the Visitors' Centre. Fulton Hogan was called to clear the snow with a grader and had done so by about 2pm.

Many people parked their cars at the gate and ventured up to the visitors' centre to build snowmen and throw snowballs at one another.

Those brave enough to take to the slopes grabbed their skis and slid down Mt Taranaki, after the the Manganui skifield was the first to open in the North Island yesterday.

About 300mm of snow covered the skifield and people should be able to ski all weekend, provided there was no substantial rainfall.

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- Taranaki Daily News

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