Conditions easing after wintry blast

The Lindis Pass was closed overnight but has reopened this morning. Photo: NZTA
The Lindis Pass was closed overnight but has reopened this morning. Photo: NZTA
Highways have reopened and ice warnings are being lifted as conditions ease following the wintry blast that hit the South yesterday.

By 11am on Sunday all state highways in the south were open. The Lindis and Haast Passes (SH8 and SH6) and SH80 between Mt Cook and Lake Pukaki were closed overnight owing to snow.

NZ Transport Agency Waka Kotahi this morning issued ice warnings for several highways: SH1 Dunedin to Waitati (Leith Saddle), SH6 Frankton to Kingston, SH6 Cromwell to Gibbston (Kawarau Gorge), SH8 Omarama to Tarras (Lindis Pass), SH85 Alexandra to Ranfurly. By 9.30am these were being lifted.

The Central Otago District Council said snow fell around the district overnight and crews were out this morning ploughing and gritting. The Danseys Pass road is closed.

Motorists were urged to take care and drive to the conditions.

The Queenstown Lakes District Council says the Crown Range and Coronet Peak roads are open but are "very icy with packed snow around the summits".

"Both have been heavily gritted. There is widespread black ice so chains must be fitted if you are heading up Coronet Peak today. Chains are to be carried if you are heading over the Crown Range."

The council said black ice had been reported on SH6 from Gibbston through to Kingston.

Many people in the South are waking to sub-zero temperatures today - at 8am Lumsden was the coldest place, according to MetService, on -3.4C. Invercargill was on -2C and Queenstown and Alexandra were both on -1C. Dunedin was on a comparatively warm 7C.

MetService said conditions would improve today, and many parts of the South can expect to see some sun as the day goes on.