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Winter's last lash set to ease

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 8/09/2016

The Desert Road in the North Island and the Lewis Pass in the South Island are closed by snow and ice but the icy blast which has buffeted the country is expected to ease on Friday.

Potentially damaging gusty winds are still expected to batter Wellington, coastal Wairarapa and the Chatham Islands before the weather improves for the weekend, the MetService says.

"Although still gale, the winds about Banks Peninsula and the Kaikoura Peninsula have eased below severe gale and the warning for these areas is now lifted," it said.

The threat of widespread heavy snowfalls has now passed and a snow warning had been lifted.

The New Zealand Transport Agency says the Desert Road and the road through the Lewis Pass were closed by snow and ice.

Interisland ferry crossings were also cancelled again on Friday.

The blast of cold weather, described widely as a "southerly buster", swept up the country earlier in the week, bringing snow, hail, rain and high winds which cut power to thousands in the South Island and closing high roads.

Two people were taken to hospital on Wednesday night after a tree fell on their car south of Christchurch.

Whiteout in the Coronet Peak area Snow falls around New Zealand
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