A perfect recipe for black ice

Playing in the snow at John McGlashan College yesterday are (from left) Peter MacNab (9), Ollie Cashmore (9), Angus McMillan (10), Theo Hannagan (9), Zach Cashmore (4) and Milla Cashmore (7). Photo by Peter McIntosh.
Playing in the snow at John McGlashan College yesterday are (from left) Peter MacNab (9), Ollie Cashmore (9), Angus McMillan (10), Theo Hannagan (9), Zach Cashmore (4) and Milla Cashmore (7). Photo by Peter McIntosh.

It was a morning of mayhem on roads as winter gave Dunedin residents a cruel reminder yesterday.

Snow in Dunedin on Friday slideshow

Police and the New Zealand Transport Agency are warning motorists to be careful on the roads again this morning, with frosty conditions and wet roads creating the perfect recipe for black ice.

A week after Dunedin's record August temperature was broken, residents awoke to a city blanketed in snow, with schools closed and cars sliding into each other and off the road.

MetService duty forecaster Philippa Murdoch said it was expected to become ''fine and frosty'' overnight in Otago, before another front brought snow to Dunedin early next week.

''That cold southwesterly should come through later on Monday and we are looking at snow down to 400m or 500m,'' she said.

NZTA coastal Otago maintenance contract manager Nick Rodger said freezing temperatures were expected this morning and an area warning was in place for black ice across Otago and Southland.

''If it's a fine and frosty morning ... the roads are going to be absolutely treacherous with the amount of water around and the snow that hasn't melted dragging the temperature down,'' Mr Rodger said.

Yesterday, police were warning motorists - particularly those living in Dunedin hill suburbs - to avoid non-essential travel, after dozens of vehicles were abandoned.

Senior Sergeant Craig Brown said emergency services were kept busy attending crashes, prompting a warning from police.

''These incidents are a reminder that on days when severe winter weather strikes, it's very important to drive to the conditions or consider carefully your need to drive at all.''

Road conditions were expected to be treacherous this morning with frost expected overnight, he said.

''People who intend to travel should ensure that they are aware of the latest road conditions before they set out on their journey and also that they are well-prepared,'' Snr Sgt Brown said Yesterday, several hill suburb routes became ''almost impassable'' to anyone other than those with a 4WD or a vehicle with chains, Snr Sgt Brown said.

Dunedin police also attended half a dozen crashes, including three at the Fairfield off-ramp, after a hailstorm, about 3.30pm.

Dunedin City Council transportation policy engineer Jon Visser said the snow was ''relatively light'', but closed three city roads - Stuart St, Taieri Rd and Three Mile Hill.

All had reopened by yesterday afternoon.

State Highway 1 from Dunedin to Waitati was restricted to non-towing vehicles only.

''We had good warnings going out last night, and everyone was well-prepared for it, both staff and contractors,'' Mr Visser said.

''We were out there with ploughs, brooms, CMA and grit, dealing with each road as prioritised.''

Otago Daily Times distribution manager Kevin McGregor said the conditions did not stop staff from getting papers out to all but a small number of rural areas.

''Everybody did a good job getting out and about [but] we had a wee bit of trouble getting some of the trucks home,'' Mr McGregor said.

New Zealand Post said there was no mail delivery in Dunedin or Mosgiel.

Bus services in hill suburbs did not run yesterday morning because of snow and ice, although most services on the flat were operating.

By afternoon, only the Halfway Bush-Brockville service was affected, and was not travelling via Dalziel Rd. Moana Pool stayed open, although some events were cancelled, the Chinese Garden was closed, Dunedin City Library closed at 5pm and book bus runs were cancelled.

Rubbish and recycling collections were cancelled, and would be done today.

Roads across Otago were closed in the morning. State Highway 87 between Kyeburn and Outram and SH6 between Kingston and Lumsden remained closed by snow and ice last night. State Highway 85 between Kyeburn and Palmerston was closed to towing vehicles and trucks.

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