Another Southland roof collapses under snow

  • 19/09/2010

Emergency management teams are assessing buildings in Southland after snow caused a second Southland business roof to collapse.

Snow was falling again in coastal Southland today as the country continued to suffer from stormy weather which has caused road closures and power outages since Friday.

While power was gradually being restored in much of the North Island which suffered outages on Friday and Saturday, concern remained in Southland.

Heavy snowfall saw part of the roof of Stadium Southland in Invercargill collapse yesterday and the roof of the Wrens decorating shop collapsed this morning, causing extensive damage.

"Luckily the store wasn't open at the time," Emergency Management Southland controller Neil Cruickshank said.

Mr Cruickshank said staff at Emergency Management Southland were working today with Fire Service and Police staff to check the safety of roofs.

"Business property owners are urged to check the structural integrity of their roofs and if they have concerns they should contact the local council in the first instance," he said.

"Non-essential business are urged to close if they have any concerns over their roofs. The buildings most at risk are likely to be those with large flat or low pitch roof areas with internal spouting."

Yesterday's collapse at Stadium Southland, the home of the Southern Steel netball team, came after the roof collapsed under heavy, very wet snow. Nobody was injured.

The Southern Scenic Route between Owaka and Niagara was closed, as was the Clinton-Mataura highway and the Milford Road. Ice was forming on many other Southland roads and motorists were advised not to travel unless absolutely necessary.

Meanwhile, a further 2000 customers who had been without power on Powerco's network in the North Island had been reconnected this morning, meaning 52,000 had been reconnected since the storm struck on Friday.

As of 11am about 3500 customers were still without power, spread across the Coromandel Peninsula, the Hauraki Plains, western Bay of Plenty, south Waikato, Taranaki, Whanganui, Manawatu and Wairarapa.

"While the majority of affected customers are in the locations above there are hundreds of isolated faults on the network from blown pole fuses to downed service and low voltage lines affecting small numbers of customers across Powerco's areas of operation," Powerco Network Operations Manager Phil Marsh said.

Powerco was urging people to keep well away from downed overhead lines and any other damaged network equipment.

The Met Service said a further 20-30mm of rain was expected in the central North Island mountains today but the rain was expected to ease late this afternoon. Strong winds of up to 120kmh were expected in Wairarapa and Hawke's Bay.

Further heavy rain was expected for the Buller-Nelson region and for the central North Island on Monday. The rainfall levels were expected to be below official warning levels but a watch for possible heavy falls was being maintained.

The levels of the Waikato and Waipa rivers remained high and may stay elevated for an extended period, Environment Waikato emergency management officer Adam Munro said.

"We can expect high flows in the Waikato and Waipa rivers for one to two weeks due to the high level of Lake Taupo, ongoing rain and the already saturated catchments in our region.

"Our flood management system is coping well. However, we will continually reassess rainfall and river flow data and advise the public of any actions they need to take if conditions change."

There had been surface flooding of State Highway 1 on the eastern shore of Lake Taupo, while SH41 on the southern shores of the lake had been closed by a slip.

Travellers across the country were being urged to check on road closures and road safety with the Automobile Association or the NZ Transport Agency.

NZPA

source: newshub archive