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Canterbury homes get power back

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 7/09/2016

Most of the 3000 Canterbury properties that lost power during the wintry blast that has been sweeping through the country have had their electricity restored.

Power company Orion says fewer than 50 of their customers were still to be reconnected on Thursday night after the severe storm that hit the previous night.

"Our crews will be working late into the night to restore supply to customers, but there will be a small number without power overnight," chief executive Rob Jamieson said.

With snow continuing to fall across the South Island on Thursday, the NZ Transport Agency said two main routes between the West Coast and Canterbury were closed.

The agency said Arthur's Pass to Otira (State Highway 73) and Lewis Pass (SH7) were shut, as was the Canterbury side of SH73 from Porters Pass to Springfield highway.

The return of the wintry weather after the start of spring also caused snowfall and power cuts in Wellington.

Both the Interislander and Bluebridge ferries cancelled sailings because of rough weather in Cook Strait.

The Rimutaka Hill road, north of Wellington, was closed twice before being reopened again in the late afternoon.

However, the NZTA regional performance manager Mark Owen said further snow flurries forecast during the evening could mean closure again.

He said conditions were changing rapidly and motorists should check before they travelled.

The Desert Rd in the central North Island was reopened, with motorists being advised to take care.

Conditions are expected to ease across the country on Friday and a warmer, drier weekend is forecast.

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