Snow and severe frosts in South Island

Southerners woke to bone-chilling temperatures as snow and frosts complete the first weekend of winter.

Black ice means conditions are still dicey on many roads in the South, especially around Dunedin, Queenstown, Wanaka and the Mackenzie region on Sunday.

A QLDC spokesman says the Crown Range linking Queenstown and Wanaka has been gritted and so too many other areas that road crews have identified as starting to look frosty, or likely to become that way.

More snow is forecast for the Crown Range Road, with up to 2cm predicted to settle at the summit. 

Road users should take care through the Kawarau Gorge (SH6) due to black ice. 

In Central Otago the roads are mostly dry, with morning temperatures between -5°C and -3°C.  However, ice is likely on bridge decks, shaded areas and hill sections. These have been gritted and crews will continue to patrol until after day break, a district council spokeswoman says.

Danseys Pass Road is closed (from the gates past the Danseys Pass Hotel) due to snow and ice.

Tekapo got the worst of it overnight at -6.6C, with Pukaki Airport close behind at -5.9C and Alexandra down to -4.8C, according to MetService.

Christchurch this morning shivering around -4C but feels closer to -6C, according to MetService, while Queenstown is -1C, with light winds making the town feel more like -4°C.

A cold front is pushing very chilly air up the South Island, with MetService meteorologist Tuporo Masters predicting people in the South would be "in the freezer" overnight with temperatures around -5C.

"That is really severe. So we go severe frost when we see air temperatures minus five. However the ground temperature might be minus 10."

Severe frosts are also expected in Marlborough through to Otago this morning ahead of a fine day, with a few showers about the Southern Lakes.

From Buller through to Fiordland, including Southland, a few showers will become more frequent with the possibility of hail, according to MetService.


The Milford Road (State Highway 94 between Hollyford Rd and Chasm) remains closed due to heavy snow, with more predicted on Sunday.

Snow has settled to lower levels and was more widespread than forecast for the morning. The road could open about midday, but delays throughout the day are expected.

State Highway 73 between Springfield and Otira is closed.

Snow showers are expected on alpine passes on Sunday, MetService says.

Arthur's Pass (SH73)
A period of snow is likely from late in the morning and into the afternoon. From 11am to 4pm, just 1cm or less of snow may may settle near the summit of the road.

Lindis Pass (SH8)
A few snow showers are expected during this Sunday morning. From 8am to 11am, only 1cm of snow may settle near the summit of the road.

Haast Pass (SH6)
A few snow showers are likely about the summit of the road in the morning but little if any snow is expected to accumulate.

Lewis Pass (SH7)
A few snow showers are likely near the summit of the road in the afternoon, but little if any snow is expected to settle on the road.


Today's also expected to be colder than Saturday around the North Island, with showery weather expected for much of the island this morning.

And although the sun is expected to break through this afternoon it may not bring much warmth, with upper North Island temperatures struggling to reach the mid-teens.

Scattered showers are expected in Coromandel, Auckland, Northland, Bay of Plenty, Gisborne and Hawkes Bay before becoming fine.

The rest of the North Island can expect fine weather from earlier in the day, apart from a few light showers sticking around between Manawatu and Taranaki.

Forecaster Weatherwatch says the coming week will be drier than normal but rain should return the following week, bringing June's rainfall totals closer to normal for the north of New Zealand.

- NZ Herald and ODT Online 

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