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More than 80 people were trapped for several hours in three tour buses on the Lindis Pass last night after a wintry blast left the buses stranded on slippery, snowy roads.
Sergeant Wayne Brew, of Oamaru, said the buses were heading from Omarama towards Wanaka when the road became impassable about 7pm.
Police helped get two of the buses turned around and headed back down State Highway 8 to Omarama, but the third was still trapped late last night.
Snow closed the highway from Omarama over the pass to Tarras and closer to Dunedin, SH87 from Outram to Middlemarch was also closed because of ice.
Motorists on SH94 (Te Anau to Milford Sound) were cautioned about snow on the road and asked to carry chains.
The MetService said a cold southerly flow was expected to bring further snow to the hills and ranges of southern Fiordland, Southland, South Otago and Dunedin overnight, with 5cm-8cm of snow likely above 400m and lighter falls down to 200m-300m.
The MetService expects the snow level to rise steadily to above 600m later this morning or early this afternoon.
It warned that snow would affect many of the higher roads in the region and advised motorists to keep up to date with the latest forecasts and check road conditions before travelling.