South wakes to snow

Snow has fallen in the South overnight, blanketing hills in the region and settling on the flat in some parts of Central Otago.

Queenstown, Arrowtown, Roxburgh and Millers Flat were among the towns to wake to snow on the ground, albeit light dustings of no more than a centimetre or two, while Wanaka and Alexandra were bypassed, residents there being greeted by clear, cool conditions this morning.

Naseby, Ranfurly and Oturehua residents reported a light dusting, which was thawing quickly.

A light covering on the hills around Dunedin ensured a cool start to the day for the city's residents.

There were more flurries this morning, but the unseasonal fall appears unlikely to create any major inconvenience.

There were no reports of major accidents, but two trucks had to be pulled out of the snow on Old Coach Road near Clinton, Stuff reported. 

State Highway 87, Outram To Middlemarch, was closed owing to snow this morning but at 10.30am the New Zealand Transport Agency website had removed the closure notification.

All other roads in the region are open. Chains were required on SH 94 Te Anau To Milford Sound (Lower Hollyford Turnoff To Milford Sound) overnight.

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The Air New Zealand website says flights are operating as scheduled in and out of Dunedin and Queenstown airports, after a flight out of Queenstown to Sydney last evening was cancelled.

A Pacific Blue flight from Sydney to Queenstown was diverted to Dunedin yesterday morning owing to snow.

With the plane in Dunedin, 66 stranded passengers were put up in Queenstown last night, and were due to fly out to Sydney today.

The snow has caused the penultimate stage of the Tour of Southland to be called off.  This afternoon's final stage from Winton to Invercargill will go ahead as scheduled.

Conditions are set to improve today.  MetService is predicting showers in eastern Otago to clear this morning and fine weather everywhere this afternoon.




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