Little respite from weather for South

Predicted heavy rain and snow is closing roads and forcing flight cancellations as a wintry blast continues to hammer the South.

State Highway 6 (Haast Pass) and SH 94 (Te Anau-Milford) are closed owing to snow, while further north SH 73 (Arthurs Pass) remains closed after a major slip a couple of days ago.

State Highway 8 (Lindis Pass) was closed for much of the day but NZTA has advised it is now open but chains must be carried.

NZTA has issued cautions for several other roads where high winds are expected today. These include SH 1 (Dunedin-Gore), SH 87 (Mosgiel-Kyeburn), and SH 93 (Mataura-Clinton).

There have been flight cancellations in and out of Queenstown airport, and thick snow flurries have been reported around the resort. At this stage flights in and out of Dunedin Airport are operating as scheduled.

The winds that lashed the region yesterday brought a tree down near Mosgiel and a woman was injured when her car hit it.

The incident occurred around 3:45pm at Puddle Alley, Sergeant Jaimee McDonald said.

Ms McDonald said the woman sustained minor injuries.

The severe weather will continue in Dunedin today, MetService meteorologist Elke Louw said.

"Unfortunately, it's not getting much better today."

A significant cold outbreak advisory has been issued for Dunedin, Southland and Clutha and heavy snow is expected to fall, she said.

"In Dunedin and Southland today it's not looking very good."

Along with the snow, gale-force winds are expected in the South.

"With that cold air and the strong winds there's going to be quite a serious wind-chill factor," she said.

Clutha and Dunedin will have snow-fall at 200 metres and 300 metres, while in Southland snow could fall to sea level.

A heavy rain warning has been issued for the West Coast.

"This could have a serious affect on rivers in the Westland ranges north of Haast Pass," Ms Louw said.

MetService urged people to take care around rivers that could rapidly rise with the heavy rain.

In the lower North Island, about 4500 properties lost power due to the severe weather.

Powerco Acting Network Operations Manager Dean Stevenson said 400 customers remained without power in Tararua and Wairarapa this morning.

Field crews were working to restore power in a safe and timely manner.

- Sophie Ryan of APNZ

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