Heavy snow blasts south New Zealand
Much of the South experienced snowfall overnight causing several state highways to close as severe gales look set to follow.
Wind would continue today with the potential for severe gales, but the weather should begin to clear tomorrow, forecasters said.
It was expected snow would fall to as low as 100m and the wind would be “bitterly cold”.
Snow settled is suburbs throughout Dunedin last night, including in the Town Belt before it was washed away by rain. Several centimetres of snow is still on the ground in the hill suburbs which contractors are in the process of clearing.
The weather caused disruptions in the South yesterday, with flights affected, and roads and schools closed as the polar blast swept through.
Snow began to fall in parts of Dunedin at 3pm yesterday.
MetService has several severe weather watches and warning still in place for today.
A heavy snow watch is in place for Fiordland south of Charles Sound.
A strong wind watch is in place for most of the South, including North Otago, Dunedin, Clutha, Southland about and south of Mossburn and Stewart Island.
The forecast for Dunedin today is showers, snow to 100m and possible squally thunderstorms before dawn, becoming isolated by afternoon with fine spells. Strong southwest, gale gusting 100 km/h in exposed places at first.
Meanwhile Queenstowners have been advised that if they do not need to drive that they shouldn’t.
The Queenstown District Council advised there was snow throughout the Wakatipu Basin and driving conditions were “extreme”.
The Crown Range Rd remains closed and the Orbus service in the town has been suspended.
Grit trucks are out and snow ploughs are being sent about the region to clear state highways and alpine roads.
If you must drive today, here’s the deal: snow chains, go slow, keep a safe following distance,” the QLDC said.
The Central Otago District Council said only essential travel should be undertaken in the Maniototo & Manuherikia area.
“Snow has fallen here, and freezing temperatures making conditions unfavourable. Crews will be focusing on the townships and sealed roads first.
Areas surrounding Roxburgh, Alexandra and Cromwell townships, especially the higher altitude roads, are heavily affected by snow and travel is not recommended.
Courtesy of odt.co.nz