8 Jun 2012

Christchurch returning to normal after snow storm

9:33 pm on 8 June 2012

Public services are slowly returning to normal in Christchurch as the thaw from Wednesday's snow storm continues.

The majority of Christchurch hillside bus routes resumed full service at midday, except for three routes over the Port Hills. Specialist tree removal crews have been called in to help clear fallen trees from the roads around the city.

Lines company Orion says there are now fewer than 50 households without power on Friday evening and most homes still affected are in rural areas to the west of Christchurch.

Orion says some staff have worked 14-hour days in freezing conditions to get the power back on and it appreciates the help of residents who cleared snow or made cups of tea for workers.

The company expects that power will be restored to all customers by Saturday.

St John Ambulance has transported seven patients to Christchurch Hospital's emergency department after they fell and injured themselves in snow or ice. Twenty-four people injured themselves on Thursday.

Limited mail deliveries have resumed. Treacherous conditions have affected deliveries to many rural areas, including Kaiapoi and Rangiora and as far north as Kaikoura.

Meanwhile, Christchurch had its coldest maximum temperature in 130 years in the 24 hours to 9am on Thursday. The National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research says the city recorded a high of just of 0.4 degrees Celsius. Temperatures are expected to rise to 10 degrees Celsius on Friday.

Christchurch Airport says flight schedules are returning to normal, though some delays are expected after disruptions on Thursday.

The New Zealand Transport Agency is still working at reopening the Lewis and Arthur's passes and hopes to have work completed by late on Friday afternoon.