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RECORD FALL

SNOW IN CANTERBURY

WIDESPREAD DAMAGE P.A. CHRISTCHURCH, Sunday. ' Communications and transport services- in Canterbury were paralysed by a record fall of snow yesterday morning. The fall ranged from 21 inches at Waikari to 7 ir.ches in the heart of Christchurch.

Beginning at 12.30 a.m. the snow graduarly banked up, blocking all traffic routes and causing disruption in telephone and power circuits. Reports from the country districts indicate that stock losses are likely to be heavy'.

City workers had a difficult time getting to work yesterday, as no. transport was running and bicycles were useless. As a result there was the remarkable spectacle of long lines of people on foot, trudging and stumbling through the snow. In Colombo Street North a young man solved the transport problem by moving over the snow on skis. Tracks Made For Vehicles The Tramways Board staff was early on the job.' Emergency gangs were collected by truck and, using graders, scoops and heavy trucks fitted with bulldozer blades, they began to punch a way through the ever accumulating snow. Heavy diesel buses were the first put over the cleared routes and they soon made tracks which other vehicles and pedestrians were able to follow. Trams were put on in the afternoon after the power wires had been repaired and by evening the city transport service was approaching normal.

Four-wheel drive Army trucks did great work later in the morning in creaking ground over many thoroughfares. Tradesmen encountered tremendous difficulties. Milk deliveries were not started in many cases until hours after the normal time. Postal deliveries were similarly held up.

Most of the city's telephones were out of order, hundreds of wires coming down with the weight of the snow. Many homes were without electricity, as power lines were broken.

There were intermittent power failures during and after the storm and for a time only one line from Lake Coleridge was serving the city. The suburbs were switched on in turn, so that each got a share of the available power. Later the city received normal power, although it was still being serviced by Lake Coleridge only. Emergency Committee An emergency committee, representing the police, the Army, Works Department, Post and Telegraph Department, and the civic authorities, was set up yesterday morning, with headquarters at Southern Military Command Headquarters, to give information and to provide assistance in districts.requiring immediate help.,,. ;- ' " '■ : Both the Army and the Air Force lent 'opprators and radio material to be used' on trucks -sent out to clear roads to enable power lines to be restored. The first wireless job done was by the: Army, which maintained train running between Dunsandel and Christchurch. The Services also provided wireless links to assist the Post and Telegraph Department. The big problem was to clear the roads and to restore full electric power services. Many districts were without power this afternoon, and, as only restricted 'toll services are available and innumerable local telephone wires are down, only those with radio sets will be able to keep in touch with the information being broadcast from Christchurch by the emergency committee on services and roads. Trains Snowed In Railway services suffered as a result of the snow through lack of signal systems, and in addition the lines in some places were covered so deep that a snow plough was necessary to clear them. Trains were snowed in all over the network and •the only service operating yesterday was that to Lyttelton. The first train from the poift, carrying passengers from the inter-island steamer, arrived about 9.45 a.ih.

The Army was called in to help the RaHway Department and heavy trucks set out in an endeavour to establish communication by radio. Breakdown trains were also sent out and after a hard day's work services were restored by 5 p.m. Trains were -'.ispatched north and south and an express arrived from the south some hours late. It is expected that all services will be normal to-morrow. As all telegraph circuits were out of order, the Post and Telegraph Department established an emergency wireless service, using Royal New Zealand Air Force stationa.

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Permanent link to this item

https://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/AS19450716.2.62

Bibliographic details

RECORD FALL, Auckland Star, Volume LXXVI, Issue 166, 16 July 1945

Word Count
683

RECORD FALL Auckland Star, Volume LXXVI, Issue 166, 16 July 1945

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