Care urged on roads as cold snap hits

The use of chains allowed this kayak-carrying vehicle to tackle the Crown Range road between...
The use of chains allowed this kayak-carrying vehicle to tackle the Crown Range road between Queenstown and Wanaka today. Photos Guy Williams
All vehicles - including police 4WD patrol cars - had to have chains fitted before heading up the...
All vehicles - including police 4WD patrol cars - had to have chains fitted before heading up the Crown Range road.

A cold blast has hit the South this morning, bringing snow to many areas and creating problems for motorists

Traffic was slowed for a while after an accident - thought to be a nose-to-tail crash - in the northbound section of the southern motorway at Green Island.

The bitter cold forced visiting football team Sydney FC to cancel this morning's open training at the Caledonian Ground.

Cautions are in place for many roads, and the New Zealand Transport Agency is urging care on the Northern Motorway owing to ice on the road.

Inland, police are instructing motorists to fit snow chains to cross the Crown Range after a series of crashes this morning.

Officers were called to the mountain road between Queenstown and Wanaka after several drivers spun in difficult conditions.

The road is now clear but patrol cars are stationed at the top of the zig-zags, and officers are ensuring motorists stop and fit chains.

Queenstown Lakes District Council advises that black ice is widespread across the Wakatipu from Glenorchy to Gibbston.

Other affected roads in the South include: SH87 Kyeburn to Mosgiel; SH6 Kingston to Lumsden; and SH94 Mossburn to Te Anau.

ODT readers are reporting light falls all around the region, including in Alexandra and Milton, and in many of Dunedin's hill suburbs.

The miserable weather prompted A-league football side Sydney FC to cancel a planned practice at Forrester Park, north of the city. 

Sydney are due to take on Newcastle United in a pre-season friendly at Dunedin's Forsyth Barr stadium tomorrow evening.

The Premier League side had a training session at the stadium this morning.

It was earlier reported that a ''significant'' cold blast was expected to hit Otago today, bringing snow showers to much of the region and sub-zero wind-chill conditions to the east coast.

MetService issued a special weather advisory yesterday warning of snow showers to 200m to 300m from last night to late tonight.

''A very cold, showery southerly flow is expected to spread over the country,'' it said.

''This cold outbreak will also be accompanied by strong south to southwest winds, especially about eastern coasts, where sub-zero wind-chill can be expected.''

Dunedin was expected to receive snow on the hills today and snow and sleet tomorrow, with a temperature high of up to 9degC.

Inland Queenstown and Wanaka were predicted to get occasional snow showers with highs of 7degC and 4degC respectively, while Alexandra was only to get occasional sleety showers.

The snow was not expected to reach Oamaru until tomorrow, with snow and sleet and a high of 10degC.

Road snowfall warnings have also been issued for the Lewis Pass and Milford Rd.

Rain at the weekend caused minor flooding in the Waiareka and Kakanui Valleys.

Coastal North Otago received 40mm-50mm of rain from Friday night until early yesterday, leading to surface flooding in Oamaru and on some inland roads.

Waitaki emergency services manager Chris Raine said Civil Defence teams were out on Saturday, particularly in the Waiareka and Kakanui Valleys, where about 40mm of rain fell in 24 hours.

The rain caused the Kakanui River and other streams to rise, but not to warning levels, and they were receding yesterday.



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