25 Jan 2017

Summer storm: Power still out for Queenstown homes

7:37 pm on 25 January 2017

Power is unlikely to be restored to parts of Queenstown and Glenorchy until tonight, with 550 homes still without power.

Severe winds last night brought down trees and branches onto power lines supplying Fernhill to Glenorchy. Power was out to 350 customers in Glenorchy, and 200 in the Queenstown suburbs of Fernhill and Moke.

Aurora Energy said overhead lines were inspected by helicopter. Repairs were expected to be completed and power restored to all customers by this evening.

It warned people to keep away from any fallen power lines or damaged electrical equipment.

Flooding affects West Coast

Earlier, flooding affected parts of the West Coast.

The flooding affected parts of State Highway 6 from Ross to Fox Glacier.

Strong wind warnings are also in place between Arthur's Pass and Springfield, with high-sided vehicles and motorcyclists particularly at risk. Motorists travelling from Gore to Dunedin and Alexandra to Omarama are also being warned to take extra care due to strong winds.

Further heavy rain has been forecast for tonight along the West Coast, and gales were expected in central New Zealand from midday.

Strong winds in the Wellington region included gusts of up to 120km/h near Upper Hutt, and more than 90km/h at the airport. Severe gales were also forecast for Wairarapa.

MetService meteorologist Tom Adams said things would ease later.

"The front is working its way up through the South Island, and currently making its way through Christchurch, and will be in Wellington by about midday. And then it does weaken as it works its way up through the North Island. The impacts aren't expected to be anywhere near as bad in the upper North Island."

Mr Adams said the country could expect more run-of-the-mill weather over the next few days.

Wild weather in the past week has seen roads closed in Southland, a heavy dump of snow at Cardrona and powerlines brought down by strong winds in Auckland.

Train line to reopen

Meanwhile, a rail line between Christchurch and the West Coast will reopen after a major slip brought down by last week's storm was cleared.

The Midland Line, which travels from Christchurch to Greymouth and includes the TranzAlpine service, will be back in service tomorrow.

The TranzAlpine has run day return trips from Christchurch to Arthur's Pass while the line was shut by a large slip at Deception Point.

Freight trains will operate between 7.30pm and 7am, to allow slips on the road to be cleared during daylight hours.

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