Snow warnings as foul weather bears down

Road snow warnings have been issued for the South Island's alpine passes as another weekend of foul weather looms for the South.

For the third weekend in a row, snow is possible and temperatures could drop as low as -8degC in some parts of Otago.

MetService meteorologist Lewis Ferris said an active front was forecast to move up the South Island today, bringing heavy rain to western areas.

A heavy rain warning was issued this morning for the Westland ranges south of Otira.

"Behind the front, much colder air should spread up eastern parts of the South Island during Saturday, while moist air aloft continues to stream down from the northwest," Ferris said..

"This could bring snow to quite low levels."

The Southern Lakes and Central Otago areas were expected to be hit hardest.

Snow could fall to 400m in the morning, then ease to a few showers before clearing later in the day.

Southerlies, possibly strong in exposed places, would ease in the evening, he said.

In the Dunedin area and North Otago, snow was possible down to 500m in the morning. It would turn to showers later in the morning, before clearing in the evening. Southerlies would be strong about the coast until the evening.

In Southland and the Clutha area, southerlies would be strong about the coast at first, and snow was possible to about 600m in the morning.

The weather was expected to ease to a few showers then clear in the evening.

On Sunday, the weather was expected to clear, but it would still be bitterly cold, he said.

Temperatures could drop to -1degC in North Otago, -2degC in Southland, -4degC in the Southern Lakes and Central Otago areas, -5degC in the Dunedin area, and -8degC in Middlemarch.

On Monday, the weather was forecast to be warmer and more settled, he said.

Road snow warnings

Lindis Pass (SH8) between Cromwell and Omarama

Between 7am and 1pm on Saturday, 1 to 2cm of snow may settle above 500m.

Crown Range Road between Queenstown and Wanaka

Between 6am and 1pm on Saturday, 1 to 2cm of snow may settle above 500 metres.

Milford Road to Te Anau, (SH94) 

The highway into Milford Sound is closed all day today due to increased avalanche risk from heavy rain and thunderstorms and with snow expected overnight tonight. 

Lewis Pass (SH7) between the Hanmer Springs turnoff and Springs Junction

Between 11am and 11pm on Saturday, 2 to 4cm of snow may settle on the road above 400 metres.

Porters Pass (SH73) between Springfield and Arthur’s Pass

Between 6am and midnight on Saturday, expect 4 to 8cm to settle on the road. Snow levels initially around 700m, but lowering to 400m late morning. 


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