Snow on mountain small reminder of eastern storms

Last updated 08:11 05/03/2014

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A dusting of snow on our mountain was the only evidence Taranaki people saw of a storm battering the east coast of the South Island yesterday.

Banks Peninsula residents face a lengthy cleanup after they bore the brunt of gale-force winds sweeping across the region.

Yesterday's storm cut power, closed shops and stopped cruise ship visits in Akaroa, leaving it like a "ghost town".

Gusts of up to 130kmh yesterday damaged boats and roofs and disrupted businesses. More strong wind and rain is expected today.

Further north, interisland ferries were cancelled as swells reached 9.5 metres in Cook Strait and gales pounded Wellington.

The Metservice expects Taranaki to escape the storm, though gusty southwesterlies are forecast for today.

Kiwi Outdoors Centre owner and outdoor pursuits specialist Rob Needs said the snow had reached 1700 metres on Mt Taranaki overnight on Monday.

He said the temperature at the summit was about minus 12 degrees Celsius and climbers on the mountain had told him it was "bitterly cold."

But, while a flow of Antarctic air had reminded Taranaki winter is near, the snow could easily melt away by the weekend. "The weather's meant to clear and I don't think you'll be able to see the snow from town by Saturday."

He said the colder weather meant there could be ice on the slopes and the scoria could freeze so trampers needed to be well prepared.

"It can go from extreme to extreme and people need to be prepared for anything."

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- Taranaki Daily News

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