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The Napier-Taupo Rd is cut due to the heavy snow and could be impassable for some time, with even more snow forecast for tonight and into tomorrow. Photo: NZTA.

Electricity has been restored after a two-hour region-wide blackout in Hawke's Bay on Saturday, but residents are being warned to expect further outages as the wild weather continues.

A fault with Transpower's national grid caused by heavy snow, has been blamed for the 10am region-wide power outage in Hawkes Bay, which cut electricity to tens of thousands of households in Napier, Hastings, Wairoa, and Gisborne for more than two hours.

 

It followed another major hour-long blackout between 3.30am-4.30am in the region on Saturday morning. Although power was able to be restored just after midday in the second outage, Transpower has warned it might not be the last one for the day.

"We are trying to keep power on in the region however weather conditions are making it difficult to gain physical access to the lines.

"With further heavy snow warnings over the course of the day and night, people in the area should prepare now for further power outages,” it said.

Hawke’s Bay lines company Unison has also posted a warning on Facebook for customers, particularly those in high country and rural areas, that they "should prepare for longer periods without power as challenging weather conditions mean access is challenging for our crews.

"We appreciate everyone's patience while our guys do their best in this crazy weather!"

State Highway 5 between Napier and Taupo is close due to heavy snow falls, while Breakwater Rd in Napier, which links Hardinge Road with Marine Parade, has been closed due to a slip.

The Napier-Taupo Rd could be out of action for a considerable period. MetService issued a warning at 10am that further heavy snow is expected today and overnight.

It expects 50 to 70cm of snow to fall at elevations above 700 metres today, with 30 to 50cm of snow down to 400 metres, and snow drifts in excess of 1 metre in places.

Eastern District Police announced at 1.10pm that the Napier-Wairoa Rd had also been closed.

MetService says significant heavy snow and blizzard conditions for inland Hawkes Bay, eastern Taihape, and the eastern ranges of Taupo, caused by the polar blast are expcted to continue today and overnight.

"In these places a further 50 to 80cm of snow could accumulate above 700 metres on top of what has already fallen, and snow drifts in excess of 1 metre are possible. Expect lesser amounts of snow down to 300 metres."

"Heavy rain is expected about the lower lying parts of Hawkes Bay today and overnight, where 80 to 100mm of rain is expected on top of what has already fallen."

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