Snow in the south as wintry blast hits

10:30, May 26 2014
arrowtown snow
Police officer Feleki Urhle working in the early hours of the morning captures eerie, empty streets of Arrowtown as snow falls.
arrowtown snow
Police officer Feleki Urhle working in the early hours of the morning captures eerie, empty streets of Arrowtown as snow falls.
arrowtown snow
Live24 NZ Limited manager Damon Forde woke to find his driveway under a large dump of snow in Arrowtown.
dunedin snow
Snow coats a street in Bradford, Dunedin.
kaikoura
Strong northwest gusts lift spray of the water north of Kaikoura.
queenstown snow
Snow at Jacks Point, Queenstown.
arrowtown snow
Renee Haenga's backyard in Arrowtown.
Stafford St
Taken on Stafford Street, Dunedin.
Stafford St
"Unfortunately uni hasn't been cancelled, yet," says Dunedin student Tori Catherwood
Arrowtown snow
Heidi Locher sent in this photo of cars covered in snow in Arrowtown, taken this morning.
Arrowtown snow
A wintery scene greeted those in Arrowtown.
Snow gallery
This is Merlot, frolicking in the snow this morning.
Dunedin snow
One of the first up on Shetland St in Wakari, Dunedin this morning.
Lake Hayes
Snow covers a vechicle at Lake Hayes Estate, Queenstown.
Queenstown snow
Queenstown, taken from Highview Terrace.
Queenstown snow
Hillside homes in Queenstown were covered in snow this morning.
Queenstown snow
Looking from Queenstown hill back to town from Hallenstein St.
Brockville snow
Pyper and Lucas Gibson playing with Pluto.
Snow in Cromwell
Snow in Cromwell at Wooing Tree Vineyard.
Cromwell snow
Blue skies greet the fresh snow on the ground in Cromwell.
Cromwell snow
Fresh snow-dusted hills greet those coming into Cromwell this morning.
Wanaka snow
Early morning snow in Wanaka, about 10 m above lake level.
takaka hill snow
The view from Jade Cottage on Takaka Hill about 7.30am today.
Snow on Port Hills
Flurries fall on Christchurch's Port Hills, where temperatures "feel like -1C".
arrowtown snow
Renee Haenga had this view of Arrowtown's streets on her way to work this morning.
arrowtown snow
Renee Haenga had this view of Arrowtown's streets on her way to work this morning.
arrowtown snow
Renee Haenga had this view of Arrowtown's streets on her way to work this morning.
lake te anau snow
Danica Tauri and Logan Morris' horses overlooking Lake Te Anau.
dunedin snow
It was still snowing in Dunedin at 11.30am when Akmal Barikzai sent this pic through.
snow man
With Arrowtown Primary School closed for the day, Willi Stanley, 5, Charlie Stanley, 9, Oscar Stanley, 7, Max Frew, 9, Austin Watts, 9, Sam Little, 9, Lucca Spring, 9, put their time to good use building a giant snowman.
queenstown snow
It was snowman-building weather for Felix, Charlotte, Isla and Riley in Queenstown this morning.
wanaka snow
Malcolm George had a beautiful view of Wanaka looking towards Cardrona Valley.
golf course snow
No golf at The Hills Golf Club today, Sebastiaan Bruinsma says. SEBASTIAAN BRUINSMA
Snow on Desert Road
A light dusting of snow along the Desert Road on SH1 in the North Island.
Boxer in snow
My flatmate's boxer dog, Mila, loves the snow in Dunedin.
Snow at lake
The snow did make it to lake level - beautiful here!
Snow at Castle
These photos were taken at Larnach Castle where very light snow still continued to fall at midday.
Snow falling
Snow falling in Tapanui in West Otago. It started from 4pm on Sunday.
Snow on Akaroa Rd to Barry's Bay
The road to Barrys Bay, Banks Peninsula, has just reopened to cars without snow chains.
wanaka snow
Photographer Edward Howarth captures a crisp morning in Wanaka.
wanaka snow
Photographer Edward Howarth captures a crisp morning in Wanaka.
wanaka snow
Photographer Edward Howarth captures a crisp morning in Wanaka.
dunedin snow
Jess Blyth takes the dogs out for a run in the snow at Waitati.
dunedin snow
Snow glints as the sun shine on Blueskin Bay.
dunedin snow
Snow collects on a hill at a Waitati farm.
arrowtown snow
A cottage on the Crown Terrace near Arrowtown.
akaroa
High tide nears at the Akaroa waterfront.
akaroa
Water pools along Akaroa's waterfront.
akaroa
High tide nears at the Akaroa waterfront.
Wanaka
A photo from snowy Wanaka this morning
Snow in Wanaka
First snow of the season in Wanaka.
Brockville snow
Another picture perfect day in Brockville, Dunedin.
wakari snow
Walkers leave their mark in the snow on the grounds of Wakaki Hospital.
wakari snow
Walkers leave their mark in the snow on the grounds of Wakaki Hospital.
wakari snow
Snow on the Kahurangi Range as seen Dovedale, Nelson. "With a view like this why would you work in an office!," says George Richards.

After a day of snow, the deep south can expect icy temperatures and frosts - but the white stuff could be back later in the week, MetService says. 

Have you been affected by the wild weather? Send your newstips, photos and video to newstips@stuff.co.nz

Snow flurries in the south were expected to ease this evening, making way for a clear, cold day tomorrow, MetService meteorologist Elke Louw said.

In the north, there was still the possibility of some light snow showers today, with 1-2cm expected to settle on higher parts of the Desert Road. 

Tomorrow the country could expect to wake up to one of the coldest days of the year so far, with severe frosts expected in inland regions of the South Island, as well as the North Island's central plateau.

"We do urge people to take care with driving on the roads tomorrow," Louw said.

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In Central Otago, Cromwell would experience a minimum -12C, Alexandra -10C, and Queenstown -9C.

Even Auckland would not escape Jack Frost's chilly fingers, with a forecast minimum of 2C - which only happens on average four times a year, Louw said.

Heading into Wednesday, another system was on its way with more cold air behind it, which was something to keep an eye on, she said.

"We are looking at snow once again for southern parts of the South Island down to quite low levels."

Road and power problems remain in some areas.

About 2000 properties in Tararua and Wairarapa were without power tonight, after three days of severe weather, electricity company Powerco said.

The outages were mainly caused by trees falling on power lines. 

"We expect to get the majority of customers back on by the end of the day barring further severe weather and will also look to get generators out to customers in some of the remote areas where repairs are likely to take several days," Powerco said in a statement.

And in Central Otago and Dunedin, abut 160 customers of Aurora Energy finally had their power restored by this evening after storm damage disrupted supplies.

DRIVE WTIH CARE

Police were warning drivers to keep a close eye on road conditions, with the predicted frosts and snow.

This evening, snow was falling on the Rimutaka Hill Rd, Wairarapa, New Zealand Transport Agency spokesman Anthony Frith said.

While it was not heavy enough to close the roads, motorists were being warned to take extreme care or make alternative arrangements, he said.

He also advised drivers across the region to check the NZTA's website for the latest road conditions before setting off.

In Canterbury, Senior Sergeant Phil Newton of Canterbury Highway Patrol also warned drivers to adapt to the wintery conditions.

"That's going to make many roads across the district treacherous, and will dramatically increase the risks of drivers having a crash - especially if they have a lapse in concentration," he said.

Drivers on the mountain passes should carry chains.

Arthur's Pass would remain open overnight though it would be down to one line and speeds limited to 30kmh.

BLANKET OF SNOW

Snow fell to low levels in Dunedin overnight, closing schools, suspending bus services, and forcing Dunedin Hospital to set up an emergency operation centre as staff and patients struggled to make it into town.

In Christchurch, snow flurries fell on the Port Hills and in Rolleston as the city shivered under 5 degrees Celsius temperatures reported by the MetService as "feeling like -1C".

Snow may also fall on Banks Peninsula above 400 metres, where wind gusts could exceed 130kmh, MetService said.

Parts of Canterbury could experience severe frosts and "double-digit negatives" tonight.

In the lower North Island, powerlines were downed and roofing iron lifted as gusts hit 148kmh. More than 4000 properties in Wellington, Wairarapa and Tararua had suffered power cuts over the weekend.

Power had been restored to most affected homes in the capital this morning, Wellington Electricity said.

In Central Otago, the Queenstown Lakes District Council said snowfalls had been widespread. Contractors were working to clear main roads but chains were essential in most places.

Seven scheduled flights in and out of Queenstown Airport were cancelled through to early afternoon.

Snow closed several main routes in the South Island including State Highway 1 between Dunedin to Waitati.

» See a list of closed roads/roads with chains required here.

Mt Hutt Ski Area manager James McKenzie said the field had received about 5 centimetres of snow and would probably get more.

NZSki said 50cm of snow had fallen at The Remarkables.

"Winter has arrived at The Remarkables with snow covering the entire ski area and more. It is snowing right down through Queenstown," it said

Heavy machinery was working to clear snow from the bottom of the access road to the ski base area, and people were told not to try to get to the ski area.

Fairfax Media