Thousands face clean-up after storm

Thousands of Northland residents are facing a huge clean-up operation in the wake of some of the worst stormy weather to hit the region in years.

The cost of the storm clean up could be in the millions, officials say, but the damage is still being assessed after a week of wild weather.

Heavy rain and driving winds caused slips, closed roads, burst river banks and was thought to have claimed one life at Haruru in Northland. Around a dozen families were taking refuge in a welfare centre last night.

Hundreds of homes in the Far North and in northern parts of Auckland were without power this morning, The Radio Network reported.

A number of main roads in Northland are closed, or partly closed, with motorists warned to take extra care and expect delays.

Civil Defence Northland spokesman Graeme MacDonald, said while it was too early to put an accurate cost on the storm, "agencies involved agree it's one of the worst to strike the region in a number of years in terms of its impacts and the recovery would take a considerable time at an eventual cost likely to run well into the millions".

Conditions were improving today, he said, with rivers beginning to recede and roads beginning to reopen.

Northland Federated Farmers president Roger Ludbrook says for some, it's a case of just trying to get by.

"Looking at the water levels certainly where I am in the Bay of Islands, they're some of the highest river levels that I have ever seen. I'd say that most people will just be sorting themselves out."

Meanwhile, as the North dries out, parts of the South are beginning to freeze over.

Snow warnings are in place for the high passes, with between 4 and 8 centimetres expected on Lindis Pass and Porters Pass today.

It'll get heavier on Porters Pass tonight - with up to 15cm expected near the summit. Milford Road will have a dusting this morning, with between 3 and 6 centimetres expected.

- with TRN

 

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