Temperatures plummet as cold front brings rain, snow and thunderstorms

Snow on the Crown Range Road this morning. Photo: MetService
Snow on the Crown Range Road this morning. Photo: MetService
Warnings are in place on several roads in the South Island as a spring storm dumps heavy rain and snow in many areas.

Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency is advising of weather-related issues on several highways, including snow on Arthur's (State Highway 73), Lewis (SH7) and Porters passes, Omakau-Kyeburn (SH85), the Lindis Pass (SH8), and SH94 the Milford Rd, which is closed. 

A wind warning is in place for Banks Peninsula until 2pm on Wednesday. There are also thunderstorms in Buller and northern Westland.

MetService meteorologist Larissa Marintchenko said it was going to be wet and cold for most of New Zealand today and tomorrow.

It has been a wet start to the day for commuters in Christchurch. Photo: NZTA
It has been a wet start to the day for commuters in Christchurch. Photo: NZTA
A cold southwest change has brought snow to 400m in the Canterbury High Country, Southland, Clutha, Otago, and to 500m on the Canterbury Plains.

Snow will also dust the Desert Rd tonight.

Temperatures dropped to 7 deg C in Christchurch on Tuesday morning, while most of the North Island was hovering around 16-17 deg C.

"It's pretty cold pretty much through this week until the weekend and then on the weekend it will start to warm up again all over the country," Marintchenko said.

The showers will eventually ease over the next few days with some still hanging around the eastern part of the country, but clearing in the west.

Snow has fallen in Tekapo overnight. Photo: Tekapo Tourism
Snow has fallen in Tekapo overnight. Photo: Tekapo Tourism
Marintchenko said it was not unusual to experience these cold snaps in spring.

"It's not unusual. It's pretty much every spring."

Snow has fallen in Tekapo overnight with temperatures dropping to 1 deg C. Twizel was the coldest spot in the country at 8am with a chilly 3.2 deg C.

The Central Otago District Council reports isolated flooding around its network and snow in the Maniototo and Manuherikia areas, and motorists are urged to take care. Danseys Pass road is closed owing to snow.

Heavy rain has caused flooding on the West Coast and State Highway 6 has been closed by a slip near Punakaiki.

MetService yesterday advised that a deepening low and an active front would cross southern New Zealand, preceded by strong and moist northwesterlies and followed by a strong cold southerly change.

The forecaster said the "very strong and cold south to southwest flow" would persist through until Wednesday or early Thursday, before a ridge of high pressure builds over New Zealand again.

-ODT Online and NZ Herald

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