LATEST: About 1000 households in South Canterbury are still without electricity and up to 200 might still be without power tonight.
Alpine Energy said the main line into Waimate will not be restored today after nine power poles near the Fonterra factory at Studholme were brought down on Tuesday, leaving the district cut off.
Waimate township is relying on a secondary line along Timaru Rd and much of the outlying areas are still affected by outages.
Alpine Energy chief executive Andrew Tombs said support crews from Waitaki, Central Otago and the West Coast had been briefed this morning and were on site in Waimate, Rangitata and near Lake Opuha.
Mr Tombs said 100 poles would need to be replaced following Tuesday's storm.
Linesmen were out in force yesterday, replacing poles and reconnecting power to some areas, but there was still plenty of work to be done before all power was restored, Mr Tombs said.
Badham Rd, near Clandeboye, was among the worst hit, with up to 20 poles snapped like matchsticks.
Today's good weather conditions could mean linesmen complete more work than initially anticipated, he said.
Mr Tombs said the damage was on par with the 2006 snowstorm.
''It could actually be a little bit worse than the 2006 snow storm. We haven't sat down and gone through all the data because our priority is to get restoration.''
Paula Kimble was on her way to Timaru when strong winds grounded planes at Wellington airport.
Domestic flights in and out of the capital were cancelled or diverted as the storm front moved across central New Zealand, disrupting thousands of passengers.
Ms Kimble was heading back to work in Timaru when she learned that instead she would be spending another night in the capital. She found out about 7pm that her flight would not be leaving. By 7.20pm, 21 flights due to leave had been cancelled, as had 17 due to land. Two more flights had to be diverted to Palmerston North.
Ms Kimble found a friend to put her up, and hoped to get on a replacement flight this morning.
''Everyone has been really lovely and helpful, it's just one those act-of-God things,'' she said.
STORE DUMPS FROZEN FOOD
New World Waimate remained closed yesterday while staff worked to clear five tonnes of chilled and frozen product.
Store owner Lynden Murray closed the store when power went out at 2.30pm on Tuesday. With no back-up generator he was at the premises yesterday dragging out food to be dumped.
All the refrigerated and frozen shelves were cleared by midday.
Mr Murray said it was unfortunate the product could not be given away but food safety standards indicated otherwise.
All staff were on deck and the shop was ready to trade when power came back on, he said. "We need new product and we can't get new product until we get supplies from Christchurch here."
The store had received calls of support from other supermarket operators in the region, he said.
- © Fairfax NZ News