Christchurch has much-needed thaw
Thu, 07 Jun 2012 6:04p.m.
By Jeff Hampton
It will be cold and frosty in Christchurch tonight, but at least this evening's trip home has been easier for many, who yesterday had to battle their way through a snowstorm.
Residents have made the most of the clear, calm day to shovel snow and dry out their wet winter gear.
It looks beautiful, but a clear morning after a big snow can be treacherous.
Many motorists took notice of a police warning to stay off the roads unless it was necessary, and with schools, colleges and varsities shut, traffic was light.
For hill residents, getting your vehicle roadworthy took time.
“The locks all froze and everything, so I had to get in through the passenger door to start it,” says Cashmere resident Graeme Robb. “So hopefully by the time I’ve scraped it all off it's good to drive.”
While the main roads are heavily gritted and safe to travel on, the side streets aren't, and they're extremely slippery.
But only eight minor vehicle accidents were reported across the city for the entire morning.
The more than 10cm blanketing of snow and ice forced the city's bus fleet off the road until early afternoon. Residents found alternative ways of getting around.
Port Hills residents cleared the footpaths of treacherous black ice.
“I've been waiting to hear a bang but I haven't heard any yet, so one of these days,” says Cashmere resident Ian Shaw.
Yesterday's storm was made worse by a layer of cold air getting under a layer of warm, which meant the snow didn't melt on the way down.
That was bad news for Christchurch Airport, which faced a morning of disruptions and delays to domestic and international flights.
But by the afternoon things were getting back to normal with the backlog of flights being cleared.
The snow also caused power cuts. A block of New Brighton residents were among the 1700 central Canterbury households with no electricity.
Power customer Daphne Lewis-Mannix says she got by with “lots of blankets”.
“The house went down to 6degC so it was rather cold,” she says.
“They've got the power back on in Hanmer,” says resident Norm Mannix. “We've got about 3cm or 4cm of snow. It's really nothing, and they can't get the power back on in the country's second largest city.”
But things are returning to normal in Christchurch. A clear day and warmer afternoon helped the city have a much-needed thaw.
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