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Slip, snow, ice cause commuter problems

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 8/08/2016
Snow has closed SH5 Napier to Taupo © SNPA / Sarah Lord Snow has closed SH5 Napier to Taupo

State Highway 5 from Napier to Taupo remains closed as hill country farmers cope with heavy snow that could leave them without electricity for more than a week.

Motorists have been told SH5 won't be open before 10am on Tuesday at the earliest, and the Napier-Taihape road will not open until at least the morning.

The Hawke's Bay Civil Defence Emergency Management Group visited the high country north of Napier on Monday and reported that people who had been without power since Saturday morning were coping well.

Group controller Ian Macdonald says a team spent the day visiting farms to see what help might be needed.

Around 400 properties in the Hawke's Bay and Taupo regions face the prospect of being without power for at least a week.

Mr Macdonald says staff reported that, while there is a lot of snow around, those affected are well prepared, supporting each other and coping well.

He says some families have chosen to leave their properties for the night but generally people are staying put and staying warm.

Hawke's Bay CDEM and Hastings District Council staff will visit the Puketitiri area on Tuesday and return to the Napier hill country later in the week.

Lines company Unison says it sent crews out again at first light on Tuesday to get started on the significant repair works.

Unison spokesman Danny Gough says there was extensive damage to the network, with 220 to 230 poles down in the area.

"Our initial estimates, we're looking to have, if the weather plays ball, Hawke's Bay restored between three to five days," Mr Gough said.

"Then we'll deploy those resources to Taupo Plains, where they had a metre of snow and freezing conditions, and that could take seven to 10 days."

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