14 Jul 2009

Lines crews work to get power back to Far North homes

8:23 am on 14 July 2009

About 100 households in the north of the North Island were without electricity overnight on Sunday in the aftermath of a weekend of stormy weather.

The strong wind and rain downed power lines, causing extensive power outages in Auckand, Coromandel and Northland on Sunday, blowing logs and debris over roads, lifting roofs and causing landslips.

Electricity was restored to most areas later on Sunday, but Far North lines company Top Energy says 100 households, mainly near the settlement of Te Kao, were still without power on Monday.

The company says the wind brought down 11,000 volt lines in rough scrub country and work crews were cutting a track through the undergrowth to get to the site and carry out repairs.

Parts of Northland had almost a month's rain in just 36 hours - 170mm fell in the hills above Kaeo, and Whangarei had more than 140mm in the same period. Despite this, the region escaped serious flooding.

On Sunday, about 1,000 Northpower customers in Northland were without electricity supply, but by Monday morning all but six households had been reconnected.

Between 3,000 and 4,000 households in the area covered by lines company Vector and more than 9,000 households on the Coromandel Peninsula were cut off for a time during the weekend.

Phone services for 1,110 Telecom customers from Northland to Coromandel were intermittent on Sunday, but the company expected the problem to be fixed by Monday.

State Highway 1 at Desert Road remained closed on Monday morning because of snow and ice. The alternative routes are SH46 and SH47 between Rangipo and National Park, and SH4 and SH49 to Waiouru.

Weather to ease

The deep low that has brought atrocious weather conditions to the north of the North Island was expected to move slowly away from the country on Monday morning.

However, MetService said rain would continue to fall in Gisborne on Monday, with some heavy falls until Monday afternoon.