Wintry blast prompts snow warnings

Omakau was hit by snow overnight on Wednesday, making it a cool start to the day on Thursday for many people. PHOTO: ALEXIA JOHNSTON
Photo: ODT files.
Wild wintry weather hitting the South could bring snow to main highways, including Dunedin's Northern Motorway, and heavy falls are possible in some areas.

MetService this morning said a cold front was forecast to move northwards across the South Island from this evening, bringing snow to low levels in some places

There are road snow warnings for State Highway 1 (the Northern Motorway), the Crown Range Road, the Lindis Pass (SH8) and the Milford Road (SH94).

The forecaster said a low east of Otago should move away to the east this afternoon and winds should ease. However, a strong wind watch remains in force for Dunedin, Clutha and North Otago.

A heavy snow watch is in force for Clutha, Southland and southern parts of Fiordland, where falls as low as 300m could eventuate.

This morning the NZ Transport Agency advised of flooding on State Highway 6 between Athol and Kingston, where there is a 30kmh speed limit in place.

All main highways are open.

MetService meteorologist Lewis Ferris said the weather was "pulling out all the stops" for the first week of the school holidays.

"We’re expecting a strong southerly change to bring about periods of heavy rain, strong winds and lowering snow levels."

Snow was expected as low as 300m in places.

In Dunedin, snow was possible on the hilltops, lasting into tomorrow.

Meanwhile, localised flooding has temporarily closed roads in West Otago and Southland today, with Environment Southland warning that water levels will remain high for a few days.


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