Snow brings travel warnings

Last updated 19:21 02/07/2014
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KATIE BERRY Zoom
Snow lies on the ground in Oxford, North Canterbury.

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Travel warnings have been issued for some highways as both the North and South islands get a dumping of snow.

The New Zealand Transport Agency issued an area warning for SH1 Desert Road owing to “winter driving conditions”. Motorists were also urged to take extra care on SH4 from National Park to Tohunga Junction until further notice.

In the South Island, SH8 Lindis Pass was closed owing to snow.  SH6 Haast to Makarora was closed after rock falls at 4pm, and expected to reopen at 8.30am tomorrow. An area warning was in place for SH94 Te Anau to Milford South owing to snow, and all vehicles driving this route must carry chains. Motorists driving SH90 Raes Junction to Mcnab were advised to take extra care as there was snow on the road.

The MetService had earlier warned of snow on the Desert Road, as well as hail in parts of the North Island as a cold snap moves across the country.

It had said there was the possibility of five to 10cm of snow above 800m, with slightly lesser amounts expected below 600m.

It also issued a road snow warning for the Rimutaka Hill Road, north of Wellington, where snow could settle to up to 1cm on the State Highway 2 road, between Wairarapa and Upper Hutt, MetService meteorologist Peter Little said.

HAIL

Hail had today fallen in Masterton, Wellington and Taranaki.

More hail, along with heavy showers and possible thunderstorms, were possible down the west of the North Island from Northland to Kapiti and including Coromandel, Bay of Plenty and the central high country.

A northwest flow had been encountering a cold, unstable southerly flow off the North Island south coast. They were converging and "thunderstorms have popped up", Little said.

The southerly flow would win and push the weather north.

Coastal areas such as Ngawi and Cape Palliser would have got the worst of it.

The Auckland region experienced "stop-start showers".

SNOW

Snow will continue to fall in parts of Canterbury, Fiordland, Southland and Otago until tomorrow morning.

Christchurch would escape a dumping, with just light showers, MetService said.

Banks Peninsula might get snow down to 300 metres today, but would also get hail and some light rain.

Showers over the Port Hills and the northern Canterbury Plains have all but cleared.

Late on Wednesday afternoons, strong winds and sleety hail hit Dunedin, breaking a month-long bask in sunshine.

Up to 20 centimetres of snow could fall to 400m further south, and the temperature was not expected to exceed 7C.

Black ice was reported around Te Anau earlier.

Te Anau Sand Fly cafe owner Carolyn Fox said the snow started about 6.30am and had continued, with some heavy falls.

Frost underneath had made the roads slippery.

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