Another chilly day, take care on slushy roads

A polar blast that made the South shiver is set to continue on Tuesday, with temperatures staying on the chilly side.

All state highways in Otago have now reopened, but snow, slush and ice continues to make driving treacherous in large parts of the South. The Milford Road (SH94) would remain closed until about 10am on Tuesday.

Senior Sergeant Craig Dinnissen, of Dunedin, warned motorists to drive to the conditions, and to avoid driving, unless necessary, in areas hit by snow and ice.

Waiouru in the central North Island was the coldest place to be on Monday, reaching a maximum of just 2degC, while Balclutha in the South Island was only slightly warmer at 3.1degC.

Max Reid snapped this on SH1 just north of Mataura while driving back to Dunedin this afternoon.
Max Reid snapped this on SH1 just north of Mataura while driving back to Dunedin this afternoon.
Meteorologist Peter Little said by Wednesday, temperatures would return to normal for this time of year.

"Tomorrow it is still chilly but things are gradually improving to a warmer trend."

However people in inland parts of the  South Island and in the central North Island could still be waking up to snow and frost tomorrow.

"At the moment it is colder than normal, but temperatures will bounce back and be around normal or even slightly above average later this week,"  Mr Little said.

In Dunedin, small amounts of snow settled to near-sea level last night making driving conditions difficult in places, with snow settling next to the Southern Motorway and more snow settling this morning in some hill suburbs and on the Northern Motorway.

A police spokeswoman said a car had struck a bank in Portobello Rd, at Macandrew Bay, today at 7.58am, in slippery conditions but apparently no-one was hurt.

Conditions were much worse in Central Otago, Clutha and parts of Southland where inches of snow settled, closing roads and resulting in warnings for motorists to avoid all but essential travel.

The Milford Road (SH94) between Hollyford and Chasm remained the only highway closed in Southland on Monday.

The road would stay closed overnight, as snow showers were forecast, and repoen about 10am on Tuesday, a spokesperson for NZTA said.  It was likely the road would close again overnight on Tuesday, as snow showers would be increasing from midday.

Sheep on winter feed near Riversdale. Photo: Sandy Eggleston
Sheep on winter feed near Riversdale. Photo: Sandy Eggleston
A Clutha District Council spokeswoman said snow and ice was beginning to thaw from about 1.30pm today, but extreme care was still needed as there was "a lot of slush" still on the roads, making them slippery.

The state highways in the region were all open, but some other roads remained closed.

SH1 between Balclutha and Milton was fully reopened just before noon today.

SH8 between Milton and Raes Junction also reopened just before noon, meaning Central Otago was once again connected with Dunedin after all the main routes between Central and the city were closed for much of the morning.

SH8 between Lawrence and Milton closed at 12.20pm, only to reopen an hour later.

SH 90 from Raes Junction to McNab reopened at 1.20pm, but there were warnings to take care due to snow and ice.  SH85 between Kyeburn and Palmerston opened at 1.50pm.

This means all state highways in Otago have reopened, though warnings for snow and ice remain in place on some and some remained closed to towing vehicles as of 2pm.

In Southland, SH93 between Mataura and Clinton opened about 2pm,

Isobel Rix (8), of Ettrick, was delighted when she woke up to snow as she and her family have...
Isobel Rix (8), of Ettrick, was delighted when she woke up to snow as she and her family have only recently moved from Dargaville, and she had never seen snow before. Photo: Yvonne O'Hara

Central Otago

A Central Otago District Council spokesman said crews were working to clear roads in the Teviot area and reminded motorists in the area to avoid all but essential travel.

"If you do need to travel we recommend the use of 4WD vehicles. We are expecting more snow throughout the day."

Snow in Naseby yesterday. Photo: Andrew McNeill
Snow in Naseby yesterday. Photo: Andrew McNeill
Moa Flat Rd reopened by 3.30pm today, but Danseys Pass Rd remained closed.

It was snowing in Roxburgh  for much of the morning as the temperature hovered around -1degC and there was up to 10cm of snow on the ground.

Roxburgh Area School has closed for the day. However, most businesses and shops were open.

A car heads along a snowy Teviot Rd in Millers Flat on Monday morning. Photo: Supplied
A car heads along a snowy Teviot Rd in Millers Flat on Monday morning. Photo: Supplied
Local resident Alistair McGill was all smiles despite the snow. He and his partner were greeted with it this morning.

“We flew in from Auckland last night and we thought the roads would be like this all the way through, but of course they weren’t - it just started snowing as we came home at half past seven.”

Terry Rix joined friends along the road from his home with his children Isobel and Tyler.

Thomas Winiata and daughter Tara Lise were also enjoying the snow. It was the first time they had see so much of it since they arrived about four years ago, they said

Ranfurly and Naseby got light dustings overnight, but about 5cm-10cm of snow lay on the ground in Naseby later in the day.

A wintry Naseby on Monday afternoon. Photo: Adam Burns
A wintry Naseby on Monday afternoon. Photo: Adam Burns

Clutha

A Clutha District Council spokeswoman asked motorists to avoid all unnecessary travel.

  • Rongahere Rd is closed from John O’Groats Rd to Beaumont due to storm damaged trees covering the road
  • West Otago roads are thawing slowly and 4WD vehicles required for nearly all roads.
  • All hill sections round Heriot are closed.
  • Dunrobin Rd, Switzers Rd and Moa Flat are closed.
  • The council is sending a grader to West Otago Rd (Conical Hill)   
  • Owaka Highway is open but extreme care is still required.

SH1 just south of Waihola. Photo: Richard Davison
SH1 just south of Waihola. Photo: Richard Davison

Dunedin

All bus services in Dunedin have resumed after ice and snow earlier today put a stop to services in hill suburbs and also resulted in delayed start times.

More snow was starting to fall down to sea level in the city just before 9am and quickly settled on Leith Saddle on the Northern Motorway.

Traffic earlier built up on the Northern Motorway in Dunedin this morning as vehicles crawled at walking pace due to the icy conditions.

Flights were earlier delayed at Dunedin Airport due to ice on the runway, but services had returned to normal.

Brockville Primary, Wakari Primary, St Mary's Kaikorai School and Brockville Kindy were closed today.

Pine Hill Primary School, Kaikorai Valley College, Ravensbourne School, St Leonards School, Maori Hill School, Concord School and Amana Christian School were scheduled to start at 10am. Dunedin North Intermediate did not have a roll call until 10am.

Kindergartens with 10am starts were: Wakari, Roslyn, Tino E Tasi pre-school, Concord Kindergarten and Little Rock Pre-School.

Queenstown 

A Queenstown Lakes District Council spokesperson said temperatures in the district ranged from 0degC to -9degC meaning road conditions were icy.

The Crown Range Rd, linking Wanaka and Queenstown was open to motorists with chains.

The spokesperson advised motorists travelling from the Queenstown Lakes area to Dunedin to delay their travel because roads south of Alexandra were affected by snow and ice.

A cold start to the day for these sheep in Millers Flat. Photo: Supplied
A cold start to the day for these sheep in Millers Flat. Photo: Supplied
A police spokeswoman said there were some crashes in Clutha and Southland yesterday, but none had been recorded this morning.

Power was out parts of eastern Southland and Clutha as of 10.30am this morning and there has also been outages in the Gore area.

The Senior family from Mosgiel trekked up into the hills behind Outram to find some snow...
The Senior family from Mosgiel trekked up into the hills behind Outram to find some snow yesterday morning. Finlay (5) is thrilled to get a tow from mum Katie, who soon after tackles the slope on her own. Photos: Gregor Richardson

Wintry weekend 

On Saturday night and during Sunday areas including Invercargill, Balclutha and towns in the Maniototo were hit by large snow falls.

In parts of Central Otago temperatures plummeted to -6degC early yesterday.

Parts of Dunedin including North East Valley, Roslyn, Woodhaugh and Fairfield received dustings yesterday afternoon and the temperature plummeted below 3degC yesterday afternoon.

Katie Senior about to tackle a slope of her own.
Katie Senior about to tackle a slope of her own.

The NZ Transport Agency had a raft of closures in place yesterday including State Highway 87 Middlemarch-Outram, Milford Road (SH94), SH93 Clinton-Mataura and Danseys Pass Rd.

Warnings were released for SH1 from Palmerston to Pine Hill and SH85 Kyeburn-Palmerston.

There was snow on the Crown Range Rd yesterday and grit was put down through the Kawarau Gorge and on SH6 between Frankton and Kingston.

By mid-afternoon the Lewis Pass in Canterbury had closed as the blast moved up the country, and police said motorists travelling on Arthur's Pass (SH73) needed to take care because of snow.

Gary gives daughter Alexa (16 months) her first experience of the cold white stuff.
Gary gives daughter Alexa (16 months) her first experience of the cold white stuff.

- By ODT staff reporters, ODT Online and NZME

 

Add a Comment

 

drivesouth-pow-generic-1.png

Our journalists are your neighbours

We are the South's eyes and ears in crucial council meetings, at court hearings, on the sidelines of sporting events and on the frontline of breaking news.

As our region faces uncharted waters in the wake of a global pandemic, Otago Daily Times continues to bring you local stories that matter.

We employ local journalists and photographers to tell your stories, as other outlets cut local coverage in favour of stories told out of Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch.

You can help us continue to bring you local news you can trust by becoming a supporter.

Become a Supporter