Families brace for sixth day with no power as Powerco says damage worse than expected

Hundreds of customers in the central North Island will awaken to a sixth day without power on Tuesday, as Powerco says last week's snow storm caused much greater damage than it initially thought.

More than 1300 people still have no power tonight in the Central Plateau, with some residents fearing it could be another week before they get electricity back.

Temperatures in the area are expected to get down to 1C overnight, with heavy rain forecast.

Taihape residents have told the Wanganui Chronicle they only have one warm room in the house, next to their woodburner. Generators are being used sparingly to pump water, chill freezers, and run lights. Cooking is being done on barbecues and on top of the woodburner.

Powerco said its crews have geared up for a big push to restore power to customers in the Taihape, Waiouru and Mangaweka regions over the next two days.

Helicopter reconnaissance in the Mangaweka region today revealed the extent of the damage, network operations manager Phil Marsh said.

"When they took off this morning we knew of 10 faults. A much closer inspection has bumped that to 36 - all visible from the air. That includes broken poles and downed wires."

Marsh said contractors had the equipment and staff available but whether they could restore everyone's power would depend on the weather.

Today's weather was marred by rain from Wellington through to Taranaki, with a lunchtime downpour causing flooding in the capital and surface flooding in parts of New Plymouth.

That rain band was expected to weaken as it drifted north, MetService forecaster Georgina Griffiths said. But parents desperate to get their kids outside in the last week of the school holidays probably need to take a coat.

Northland, Auckland and the Bay of Plenty could all expect moderate rain on Tuesday while Gisborne and Hawke's Bay could see showers, she said.

On Wednesday a few minor showers were expected around Taupo, Taranaki and the Bay of Plenty.

"Toward the end of the week - Thursday, in particular Thursday afternoon or evening, also Friday, the weather becomes rough again, we start to see probably those severe weather warnings and watches start to come out."

Tuesday would be a "cracker" for the South Island, Griffiths said, and Wednesday would be more cloudy but still offer decent temperatures.

TUESDAY'S FORECAST

WHANGAREI Rain, showers in afternoon.
High 17C, Overnight 9C

AUCKLAND Showers becoming rain late in afternoon. Northerlies.
High 16C, Overnight 10C

HAMILTON Fine patches, cloud increasing at night. Northerlies.
High 14C, Overnight 8C

TAURANGA Fine breaks, cloud increasing at night. Northwest winds.
High 15C, Overnight 10C

NAPIER Patchy rain, clearing to mainly fine by midday.
High 14C, Overnight 5C

WELLINGTON Showers, maybe heavy, developing in evening. Southerly change.
High 11C, Overnight 5C

CHRISTCHURCH The odd shower by evening, less frequent overnight. Southwest winds.
High 11C, Overnight 0C

DUNEDIN Fine with northerlies.
High 11C, Overnight 2C

- NZ Herald

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