Worst of wintry blast passes without significant snow dump

A dusting of snow can be seen on the Northern Motorway this morning. Photo: NZTA
A dusting of snow can be seen on the Northern Motorway this morning. Photo: NZTA

The worst of the wintry blast has passed without bringing a significant dump of snow to Dunedin or other Otago centres. 

Snow was falling in parts of the South Island to 100m above sea level, and was forecast later in the day to 500m in the North Island, but a severe weather watch for Otago and Southland issued by MetService has been lifted.

The hill suburbs of Dunedin experienced some snowfall this morning, but not enough to settle in most places. 

However, the cold weather was still bad enough to delay the starts for Brockville Primary School and Brockville Kindergarten until 10am. 

A snow warning in place for Dunedin's Northern Motorway (SH1) from Pine Hill to Waitati was lifted this afternoon. 

All sports fields in Dunedin were also closed.

Horses graze in the thin layer of snow which fell on Three-Mile Hill overnight. Photo: Stephen Jaquiery
Horses graze in the thin layer of snow which fell on Three-Mile Hill overnight. Photo: Stephen Jaquiery

The Desert Rd (State Highway 1) from Rangipo to Waiouru was closed overnight, and most of the South Island's alpine passes were affected.

MetService meteorologist Nick Zachar said the freezing Antarctic blast had made its way up the country overnight, and was scheduled to arrive in the North Island mid-morning.

"Showers have been falling as snow to 200m in the lower South Island, but those should start to ease through the morning," Zachar said.

It was still too early to see how much snow had fallen, but the cameras at Lindis Pass (SH8) and Crown Range Rd in the lower South Island showed snow completely covering the roads.

A Queenstown Lakes District Council spokeswoman said despite the Crown Range being closed, all other roads within the district should be open. However, motorists should still expect wintry conditions and should drive with caution.

State Highway 94 (the Milford road) was closed for a time but has reopened.

A Fulton Hogan spokeswoman for Central Otago said Dansey’s Pass Road is closed due to snow from the gates at the reserve past the hotel.

Also there has been some snow in the Maniototo and Manuherikia areas which has frozen to the roads creating icy conditions, she said. 

Warnings were also in place for the Crown Range Rd, Haast Pass (SH6), Lindis Pass (SH8), Porters Pass (SH73), Arthur's Pass (SH73) and Rimutaka Hill Rd (SH2) on the North Island's east coast.

A Clutha District Council spokeswoman said there was a light dusting of snow in West Otago which has turned to slush in many places.

Today's weather

AucklandShowers, heavy with hail and chance thunder from late morning, clearing evening. Strong southwesterlies, gale gusting 100 km​/​h. 12C high, 4C overnight.

Tauranga Fine spells. A few showers from late morning, chance heavy afternoon, clearing evening. Strong southwesterlies. 12C high, 2C overnight. Showers, some heavy with hail and chance thunderstorms from late morning, clearing evening. Southwesterlies easing. 11C high, -1C overnight.

Wellington Showers developing this morning with a strong, cold southerly change. Some showers could be heavy with hail. 8C high, 5C overnight.

Christchurch A few showers, with snow to 400 metres, clearing by evening. Strong southwesterly. 8C high, 3C overnight.

Dunedin A few showers, mainly in the morning with snow to low levels at first. Gusty southwesterlies. 8C high, 5C overnight.

 - additional reporting by ODT

Comments

Robbed of a snowday ... AGAIN ... heads should roll at the Met Service !!!