Wintry blast chills South with snow, wind, rain

A truck edges towards Te Anau yesterday afternoon on snow-blanketed Blackmount-Redcliff Rd, near Monowai in western Southland. Photo: Southland District Council
A truck edges towards Te Anau yesterday afternoon on snow-blanketed Blackmount-Redcliff Rd, near Monowai in western Southland. Photo: Southland District Council
More snow has fallen on higher ground in Queenstown and Central Otago this morning, as a cold front lingers in the South.

About 6cm fell at The Remarkables skifield, bringing the snow base up to between 80 and 100cm this morning. Another dump was expected in the Queenstown Lakes area overnight.

There were no reports of road closures or traffic delays in the town.

Snow was also being reported in parts of the Maniototo, although was not settling on roads at this stage, the Central Otago District Council advised. Rain overnight was causing isolated patches of surface flooding. 

In Dunedin, snow had dusted the Maungatua Range and there was low-lying fog in the Taieri this morning.

Another front was forecast to arrive in the South Island late tonight, bringing another dose of rain and snow to lower levels.

MetService meteorologist David Miller said the eye of the storm had moved north to South Canterbury, with snow in the high country forecast down to 600 metres overnight.

Inland Canterbury and Marlborough could see another round of snow above 300m, while inland parts of Otago, Southland and Fiordland could see heavy snow above 200m.

Higher roads, passes and farms in these areas were likely to be affected.

In the North Island, there was a lower chance of snow above 600m in the central North Island high country, including the ranges of Hawke’s Bay about the Wairoa District on Friday and into Saturday.

SOUTHLAND BLANKETED

Southland became a winter wonderland yesterday as heavy snow blanketed western parts of the district, bringing an unseasonably chilly reminder for the rest of the South.

The cold front began over Stewart Island early yesterday and moved up the South Island, bringing rain and snow to as low as 200m in places.

Although most areas avoided power outages, strong winds brought a tree down on powerlines near Monowai in western Southland just before 1pm, causing an outage for 35 customers in the rural Jericho and Redcliff area. Five power poles were toppled. Power was restored to the area about 9.30 last night.

Nearby Blackmount-Redcliff Rd was closed due to heavy snow, trapping several vehicles on the road and blocking the Lake Monowai turnoff.

The Milford Road (SH94) was closed from yesterday. Photo: Milford Road Alliance
The Milford Road (SH94) was closed from yesterday. Photo: Milford Road Alliance

The Milford Road (SH94 Te Anau to Milford) was closed from Hollyford Rd at 4.34pm yesterday and reopened late this morning.

In Te Anau, rain turned to snow about 11.30am yesterday, causing ''several centimetres'' to settle in the township. Snow also fell in Mossburn and Garston.

The Queenstown Lakes District Council issued a road snow warning for the Crown Range yesterday afternoon.

The Dansey’s Pass Road in Central Otago was restricted to 4WD vehicles due to snow. 

Snow warnings were also in place for the Lindis Pass (SH8) and Porters Pass (SH73) from 8pm yesterday.

Overnight, 2cm to 5cm of snow was expected near the summit of Porters Pass. A warning was lifted yesterday for the Haast Pass (SH6).

The Crown Range Road linking Queenstown and Wanaka this morning. Photo: MetService
The Crown Range Road linking Queenstown and Wanaka this morning. Photo: MetService

Despite touching 19degC on Tuesday, Dunedin recorded 14degC yesterday morning, before dipping to 7degC in the afternoon due to cold winds and rain.

MetService meteorologist Angus Hines said the front had brought unusually cold weather for the time of year.

''It's pretty cold for the middle of spring, although it's also well known that the South can be changeable at this time of year, with four seasons in one day.''

Temperatures today would range from 10degC in Dunedin, Gore and Timaru, to 13degC in Wanaka, and 16degC in Milford.

The front would continue to head north, bringing rain and cold conditions.

Canterbury was in for a wet day but the heaviest rain was set to fall in the Nelson ranges, and Westland north of Otira, where heavy rain watches and warnings were in place.

- By Richard Davison and NZME

richard.davison@odt.co.nz

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