Front hits South, but little snow expected in Dunedin

Heavy snow is expected across parts of Otago this afternoon, but the MetService is no longer expecting snow to 200m or significant snow on Dunedin's Northern Motorway.

After earlier predicting snow down to 200m in Otago, the MetService now says snow is expected to fall to 300m from 2pm this afternoon, with accumulations possibly approaching warning criteria above 400m.

A road snowfall warning remains in place for Dunedin’s Northern Motorway from this afternoon, but the MetService says "little if any snow is likely to settle".

A few snow showers were "possible" near the summit.

The front is still expected to bring bitterly cold conditions and a strong wind watch was in place for North Otago, Dunedin, Clutha, and southern Southland from 3pm today to 11am tomorrow.

MetService meteorologist Peter Little said a complex trough was moving on to the South Island last night, while a low-pressure system would deepen east of the country today.

The low would direct a cold southeasterly flow over the South Island, bringing significant snowfalls to high country areas, Mr Little said.

A snow watch was in place for North and Central Otago, Dunedin and large parts of Canterbury.

Road snowfall warnings were in place last night for the Lewis Pass (State Highway 7), Arthur’s Pass (SH73), Porters Pass (SH73), Haast Pass (SH6), Lindis Pass (SH8), the Crown Range Rd, and the Milford Rd (SH94) today.

A heavy rain watch has been issued for Dunedin and North Otago from 1pm today to 3am tomorrow, and up to 50mm of rain is expected during the period.

Clydevale farmer and Federated Farmers Otago meat and wool chairman Simon McAtamney said many sheep farmers were in the middle of lambing but would be well prepared for the polar blast.

Farmers would be shifting stock to warmer paddocks and keeping an eye on their lambs to make sure they were kept warm, Mr McAtamney said.

High country farmers usually did not start lambing until the end of September, so were unlikely to be affected.

Cold blasts at this time of the year were just part of farming in Otago and Southland so farmers were well prepared.

"We get these spring storms and cold snaps — they’re miserable days to work in but you just got to work through it."

Most farmers would welcome the extra rain, he said.

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