Snow posed problems for motorists on the Crown Range road this morning. Photo Mark Price
Gale-force winds that brought down trees and cut power in the
South Island this morning have moved up the country, blowing
a bus carrying 18 schoolchildren off the road.
The bus left Mangaroa Rd, west of Eketahuna in the Tararua
District, about 8.10am today, Inspector Ian Harris of police
central communications said.
"There were absolutely no injuries and the 18 kids got on
another bus and carried on to school," he said.
Emergency services had been told the bus was blown off the
Iin the south, motorists were urged to take care as winds
created problems on roads around the region.
Wind caused a power pole to come down on the road between
Clinton and Waipahi this morning, but the downed lines were
repaired by 9am, Senior Sergeant Craig Brown, of Dunedin,
A large road sign was also blown over the road near Milton.
''Must have been a large sign because no-one could move it.''
Fire and police were called to downed power lines on the
Waitahuna road, near Lawrence, and the road was closed for a
Police were also investigating a car roll-over near Lawrence,
Snr Sgt Brown said.
Snow also caused problems, with several motorists getting
stuck on the Wanaka side of the Crown Range.
The snow had stopped by late morning and the road was being
gritted allowingtraffic to move again.
The MetService has issued severe weather warnings for much of
the lower South Island, with strong wind warnings for
Southland, Otago and Canterbury.
Heavy snow warnings are in place for Fiordland, Southland and
Clutha, while a heavy rain warning is in place for the ranges
of Westland south of Otira.
Inspector Olaf Jensen of Southland police said gale-force
winds had brought trees down and caused limited power
disruption in some areas of the region.
Roads remained open but motorists were advised to to exercise
"extreme care" on Southland roads.
Power was cut to Millers Flat and Roxburgh but has since been
The MetService said strong westerly and northwesterly winds
were gusting up to 160km/h as the front moved over the South
The front would be followed by a cold change that would see
temperatures plummet, bringing snow to low levels in warning
MetService severe weather forecaster Leigh Matheson said the
strongest winds this morning were in the Foveaux Strait,
Stewart Island and Southland.
The Foveaux Strait was being battered by 100km/h winds,
gusting up to 160km/h, while 60km/h gales in Invercargill
were gusting up to 120km/h.
Strong winds were also hammering Otago, with 50km/h
northwesterly winds in Dunedin gusting up to 80km/h.
Ms Matheson said the gales should ease this morning as the
front moved over the country.
"Temperatures are expected to drop significantly from later
this morning into this afternoon, so snow will gradually
lower from this afternoon into this evening," she said.
In Fiordland, snow below 300m was expected from this
afternoon, becoming heavy this evening. Heavy snow would
follow in Southland and Clutha from about midnight.
"In all of those areas, we're expecting snow to near sea
level. But the significant amounts, or the large amounts,
will probably be above about 300m," Ms Matheson said.
Snow was likely to push further north tomorrow, with southern
parts of Central Otago and Dunedin expected to see some snow
to low levels, but not in large amounts.
Heavy rain was falling in Westland this morning, with 30-40mm
of rainfall in the ranges since midnight. The rain was not
expected to ease until this afternoon.