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Snow on State Highway 5 this morning. Photo / Higgins Contractors
Wild weather (click here) has hit the country overnight, with blizzard-like conditions leading to a mass power outage and weather warnings put in place.
There are severe weather warnings over Hawke's Bay, eastern Taihape and the eastern ranges of Taupo, which is forecast for significant heavy snow and blizzard conditions, the MetService said.
"In these places a further 50 to 80cm of snow could accumulate above 700m on top of what has already fallen - and snow drifts in excess of 1m are possible. Expect lesser amounts of snow down to 300m,'' the warning said.
A large chunk of the North Island lost electricity about 10am, with reports the black-out stretched from Hawke's Bay to East Cape.
Hawke's Bay Hospital is operating on generator power and says everyone is safe. However, the hospital is appealing to the public to please leave the Emergency Department for emergencies only until power is fully restored in Hawke's Bay.
Lines company Unison said just after 1pm that power had been restored to most parts of the Hawke's Bay region and work was now being done to provide "critical load capacity,'' should there be another mass outage in the next few hours....