Worst storm in years strikes the heart of district
Taihape residents and businesses are left dealing with the nasty aftermath of a snowstorm that slammed the area taking out powerlines, blocking roads and causing slips and floods.
Mangaweka cafe owner Sharon Grayson said the snow blitz shut down her business for days last week.
Grayson, who lives in Taihape, said the region was paralysed by the snowstorm - there was no power, no cellphone coverage, blocked roads, slips, trees down, and floodwater from snow melt and rain. ‘‘It’s pretty bad.’’ She said she had to drive to south of Ohingaiti in search of cellphone reception and she couldn’t open her cafe.
‘‘We’re going to lose a lot of money.’’
The timing of the storm couldn’t have been much worse for it was the school holidays, which would have meant plenty of passing custom if State Highway 1 wasn’t buried under snow.
Grayson said the lack of lights from houses was especially noticeable when she was out driving. Powerco reported last week 10 poles were down in Mangaweka, suspected casualties of the weight of snow that had fallen.
A spokesman said how soon power would be restored to the hundreds without it depended on the weather improving so the company could access the areas with repair crews.
‘‘We're going to lose a lot of money.’’ Sharon Grayson
Grayson said she had lived in the area since 1989 and couldn’t recall a weather event as bad since the flood of around 2002.
‘‘Not one business was open in Taihape.’’
On the home front, she said they had a chip heater and a barbecue, so that was some consolation.
A Rangitikei District Council spokesman said the medical centre at Taihape was giving hot food and drinks to anyone who needed something.
‘‘They’ve had a few people pop in,’’ he said.
He said the situation wasn’t dire enough to force the council to open its own emergency centres.
The Taihape police were reduced to using a single cellphone network due to power outages.
Mangaweka was impassable until weather cleared enough for farmers to clear sections of the road.