9 Jul 2015

Snow hampers Whanganui relief efforts

8:16 pm on 9 July 2015

adriana.weber@radionz.co.nz

Snow fall and freezing conditions are hampering relief efforts for Whanganui residents, just weeks after the region experienced its biggest flood in recorded history.

The Wanganui District Council says snow has forced the closure of several roads in the region, with some covered by more than 300 millimetres of snow.

The New Zealand Transport Agency is warning drivers to take extreme care on icy roads.

Snow has forced the closure of several roads in the region. Photo: NZTA

The chair of Ngā Wairiki - Ngāti Apa, who is involved in the post-flood relief effort, said the weather could cut off more whānau.

Pahia Turia said between 20 to 30 families were left isolated after the floods and now the snow was making it even more difficult to help them.

"You're trying to work through getting silt out of properties and you've got this extra rain and a bit of snow and extremely cold wind blowing through the region as well," he said.

"So it's certainly making relief efforts that much harder."

A council spokesperson said Kauarapaoa, Junction, Watershed and Ahu Ahu Valley Roads were now closed to all traffic.

"Roading crews have been withdrawn from these areas and motorists must keep off these roads as emergency services and rescue vehicles are also unable to get through."

Snow has also affected other parts of the country, closing both highways to Gisborne from Hawke's Bay and threatening to close State Highway 2 between Gisborne and Opotiki.

Police said State Highway 2 between Gisborne and Wairoa was open most of the day to vehicles, but some heavy trucks became stuck.

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