The day the snow came to Manawatu
What started off as a beautiful covering of picturesque snow soon turned into a major annoyance for many who call the Ruahine Range their neighbour.
Residents in Apiti, north of Kimbolton, woke up to a heavy snow fall on the morning of July 13.
Pam Strahan said it was ‘‘pretty and lovely to look at’’, until the power went out.
‘‘I could hear trees breaking and branches snapping.
‘‘The snow that had built up started to crash down and it was a bit frightening. It was snowing quite heavy and it was just getting deeper and deeper really quickly.’’
Strahan said even getting wood was hard, and her son Ben Strahan had a near miss when a large tree branch fell, bringing with it the power line to the house.
‘‘I heard this big boom and it came down right where he was at the wood shed, practically on his head.’’
Ben was fine and the wood was eventually fetched but the Strahans had no power for four days.
But others, said Strahan, were worse off.
In Rangiwahia some remote properties could be without power for weeks as not only power lines are down but power poles as well.
Greg Clifton said they were prepared with a large generator that covered most of their needs.
‘‘I fill it up in the morning and that lasts us till about six at night. At 20 gallons a day, it’s a pretty expensive way to power the house but the worst part is getting out there to turn the bloody thing off in your pyjamas. That job is totally delegated to me.’’
Kim Lockwood, too, is relying on his generator. He farms in Umutoi and was hopeful, earlier this week that power would be restored quickly.
‘‘You just scratch along. It’s been a while since we’ve had a dump like this and our biggest problem now is the ground conditions.
‘‘At the back of the farm the sheep up there have well over a metre of snow to negotiate, they are very resilient.
‘‘We can’t get there so we just have to put that out of our mind. The cattle are off the crops and they are getting a double dose of baleage.’’
Lockwood said they are pretty much left to figure out things for themselves, and it is the surrounding community that keeps everybody safe.
‘‘Everybody looks out for everybody and we just get on with it, but there is a feeling that we are left to our own devices. I’m fine, but I do worry about if there was an expectant mum or something like that and there is no power and no phone.’’
Powerco Network Operations Manager Phil Marsh said more than 200 field staff were working to re-establish power.
‘‘There may be still some pockets that will take longer but they will be contacted by either Powerco or a local council representative.’’
He said customers could help them by identifying any continuing issues.
‘‘As we fix the main lines it is important that if customers have part power or no power, especially when neighbours do have supply, they contact their retailer.
‘‘The damage is scattered across large areas, which intensifies the challenges for our crews.’’
Deziah Maki, 10, Zarinah Maki, 2, and Kaesahn Maki, 6, play in the snow on Table Flat Road in Apiti.