Cold continues to bite and more on the way

An icy start to the day made road conditions treacherous again as the Queenstown Lakes area continued to shiver in the cold.

And there is more to come, as the wintry blast that has been hitting the country over the past few days is set to regather force at the weekend.

A Queenstown Lakes District Council advisory this morning said temperatures were hovering around freezing across the district, and combined with wet roads this was a recipe for black ice.

The Crown Range remained closed  this morning due to snow, ice and now a slip on the zigzags....
The Crown Range remained closed this morning due to snow, ice and now a slip on the zigzags. Photo: MetService
The Crown Range was closed for much of the morning owing to snow, ice and a slip, but  the QLDC has advised that one lane is now open.

The Milford road was also closed because of snow but the NZTA advised shortly after midday it had reopened.

The Milford Road Alliance said up to 40cm of snow was being cleared from the road (SH94) this morning. 

MetService meteorologist Mads Naeraa-Spiers said this morning that in the South Island the cold snap had deepened, as temperatures dropped to -6C in parts of inland Southland and Central Otago.

Snow covers the mountains surrounding Lake Hayes this morning. Photo: Guy Williams
Snow covers the mountains surrounding Lake Hayes. Photo: Guy Williams

No more snow was reported overnight, but by yesterday evening about 50cm had fallen on the Milford Rd, 25cm through Arthurs Pass and 5cm in Queenstown.

"It all depends on how high up you get," Naeraa-Spiers said.

Snow showers were forecast on many of the country's roads at higher altitude to 11am today.

Many of the South Island skifields were treated to decent snowfall too: more than 50cm was recorded in some Canterbury skifields, Naeraa-Spiers said.

"The old saying was, 'snow in May melts away', but as we near June it is cooling down and it might not be the case."

A MetService spokeswoman said the outlook for the weekend was "pretty unsettled and cold".

Southern areas at altitude would get more snow, while areas closer to sea level would be treated to sleety showers.

"We are finally back into winter."

The front brought more snow to Queenstown's ski areas, Coronet Peak and the Remarkables, adding to the 30cm-plus snow already received in the past few days.

It could not be better timed, as the Remarkables opens on June 9 and Coronet Peak a week later.

Queenstown bore the brunt yesterday with temperatures below zero, snow down to lake level, disruption to flights and a delayed start at some schools and childcare centres.

Another big low is expected to move across the South Island tomorrow afternoon, bringing a polar southerly behind it.

The MetService is forecasting clear conditions for part of this morning, but showers, hail and snow are expected to return to the Queenstown Lakes district and other parts of Central Otago later in the day.

A police media spokeswoman said a car slid sideways on ice on Arthurs Point Rd in Queenstown about 7.40am yesterday, blocking the road in both directions for a short time.

A MetService spokeswoman said the outlook for the weekend was "pretty unsettled and cold".

Southern areas at altitude would get more snow, while areas closer to sea level would be treated to sleety showers.

"We are finally back into winter."

The front brought more snow to Queenstown's ski areas, Coronet Peak and the Remarkables, adding to the 30cm-plus snow already received in the past few days.

It could not be better timed, as the Remarkables opens on June 9 and Coronet Peak a week later.

With NZME

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