Wild weather for many, snow on way for South

An active front is set to bring heavy rain and gale-force winds for many places, including Westland and Fiordland today, and snow to the lower South Island from the start of the week.

Snow was expected to lower to around 600 metres in Fiordland, Southland and Otago on Monday, and to 200 to 300 metres with a colder southwest change on Wednesday, MetService said.

Snow was forecast to reach low levels in Dunedin on Wednesday.

The Milford Road (State Highway 94 Te Anau to Milford Sound) would be closed from Hollyford Road junction and Chasm at 4.30pm on Sunday due to forecast snow overnight.

Snow showers were forecast above 800 metres on Monday and there would be more rain and snow showers until Thursday, the Milford Road Alliance advised.

Snow or sleet has also been forecast for alpine passes and the Crown Range Road linking Wanaka and Queenstown.

The New Zealand Transport Agency said now flurries were  possible near the summit of the Crown Range on Sunday afternoon but snow was not expected to settle. Showers were forecast from early on Monday, falling as snow above 800 metres. Between 5am and 1pm on Monday, expect 5cm to 10cm of snow to settle near the summit,with lesser  amounts down to 800 metres. 

On the Lewis Pass (SH 7) showers are expected to turn to snow  near the summit on Monday. Between midday  and 6pm expect 1 to 2cm of snow to settle near the summit.

On Arthur's Pass (SH 73) showers were forecast to become snow near the summit on Monday morning. Between 9am  and 3pm, expect 1 to 2cm of snow to settle near the summit.

One or two snow flurries were possible on the Lindis Pass (SH 8) near the summit from Sunday afternoon. Showers are then expected to  develop early on Monday, falling as snow near the summit. Between 6am and  2pm, expect 1 to 2cm of snow to settle near the summit.

Slopes above West Portal on Sunday afternoon. Photo: Milford Road Alliance
Slopes above West Portal on Sunday afternoon. Photo: Milford Road Alliance
Heavy rain and winds 

Heavy rain warnings were in force on Sunday for Westland, Buller, Nelson and the north and west of Marlborough, also for the Tararua Range and Mount Taranaki.

Watches were also in place about Fiordland, the central North Island hill country from Taranaki to Tongariro National Park and Waitomo, also the eastern ranges of Bay of Plenty.

Areas covered by heavy rain warnings will have the potential of seeing rivers and streams rise rapidly and experiencing hazardous driving conditions so make sure you keep updated with the forecast and be prepared for the chance of delays.

Severe gale warnings were in force for the Canterbury high country, inland Marlborough and the Sounds, Wellington, southern Wairarapa, also Taranaki, Whanganui and Taihape.

This watch is also for the possibility of severe gale north to northwesterly winds during Sunday over much of the North Island, from Northland to Waitomo and across to Hawke’s Bay and Gisborne, also Manawatu and to the Kāpiti Coast.

In Central Otago, Cemetery Road in Naesby and Mount Buster Road (the section between Dansey’s Pass Road and Little Kyeburn Road) were closed after strong winds felled trees on Saturday.

There was also a moderate risk of thunderstorms about Fiordland from late on Sunday morning. If thunderstorms occur they may be accompanied by localised heavy rain of 10mm to 15mm per hour, and strong wind gusts of 90kmh to 110 kmh.

- ODT Online and NZME


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