Wintry blast fizzles out

04:17, Jul 03 2014
Kowai Bush
WINTRY SCENE: Snow in Kowai Bush, about 450m and near Springfield, this morning.
Snow in Springfield
EXTRA DUSTING: Flurries fall on a giant doughnut in Springfield, Canterbury.
Snow in Te Anau
WINTER WONDERLAND: The white stuff was falling thick and fast in Te Anau's village green at 7am this morning.
Snow in Te Anau, Sandfly Cafe
TIME FOR A HOT DRINK: Te Anau's Sandfly Cafe looked like an inviting rest-stop at 7.30am this morning.
Snow in Kowai Bush
HEAVY SETTLING: A white landscape greeted Brooke Westerman at her Kowai Bush home this morning.
Snow in Oxford
UNSURE: Hokey the dog doesn't look sold on the white stuff at his home in Oxford, Canterbury.
Snow in Culverden
NOT A GREAT DAY FOR IT: Workers get stuck in a flurry in Culverden, North Canterbury, about 200m above sea level.
Snowy daffodils on Depot Rd
SEASONALLY CONFUSED: Daffodils weary with snowfall on Depot Rd, between Oxford and Sheffield, this morning.
Snow in Mossburn
FALLING THICK AND FAST: Snowfall piles up in Mossburn.
Snow in Te Anau
NO TEE-OFF TODAY: Te Anau golf course, pictured from an overlooking home, is blanketed in thick snow.
southland snow
Dairy cows wait for food beside State Highway 94 as the snow continues.
southland snow
Sergeant Tod Hollebon speaks about the situation on State Highway 94 to Downers' Hamish Angus.
southland snow
Kevin O'Sullivan of Downers is forced to fit chains to his snow sweeper on State Highway 94 as ice forms.
southland snow
A grader clears snow on State Highway 94.
southland snow
Snow covered sheep near Gorge Hill on State Highway 94 bear the snow as the snow dump continues.
southland snow
No school today for some pupils.
Snow around Lake Coleridge
WHITE BACKDROP: The 100-year-old Lake Coleridge Power Station looks even more dramatic in a snowy landscape.
oxford snow
Snow lies on the ground in Oxford, North Canterbury.
oxford snow
Carol Herrett caught this view from Te Anau.

The Desert Road has re-opened as a cold snap passes over - but chilly conditions mean ice and snow continues to make driving hazardous.

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

The Desert Road had been closed overnight because of snow.

Taranaki hail
South Taranaki had two bouts of hail this morning, resulting in this accumulation.
Lyall bay rainbow
The storm arrives in Wellington's Lyall Bay.
Lyall bay rainbow
A rainbow forms over central Wellington.
Storm clouds, Wellington, July 2
Steve Mulliss says: I took this photo at 10.45am today from my home in Miramar (Wellington), looking across to Lyall Bay. The twin funnels lasted a few minutes and didn't get any bigger than this before fading rapidly.
Masterton hail
Hail in a Masterton garden this afternoon.
Snow
WAIOURU WINTER: Snowfall in Waiouru this morning.
Snow
Sam Oldfield snapped this from his office in Masterton.
Snow
Aftermath of the hail storms in Lower Hutt.
Snow
Making driving tricky in the Whiteman's Valley, near Wellington.

Police this afternoon warned motorists that care was still needed and drivers were warned to drive to the conditions.

State Highway 47, through the North Island's central plateau, had also re-opened.

Ice posed a serious risk along SH4 Ohakune/Taumaranui and beyond, police advised.

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Mararoa School at The Key was one of the schools shut by the weather.
SCHOOL'S OUT: Mararoa School at The Key was one of the schools shut by the weather.

In the South Island ice had been reported on State Highway 97 Mossburn, Five Rivers Road, SH6 Athol To Lumsden, and SH8 the Lindis Pass.

Chains were required on SH94 between Te Anau and Milford Sound, while motorists were urged to take extra care due to snow on SH90 Raes Junction to McNab.

COLD SNAP MOVES OFF

ROAD FREEZE: Snow covers State Highway 1 near Waiouru in the central North Island.
ROAD FREEZE: Snow covers State Highway 1 near Waiouru in the central North Island.

A severe weather watch has been lifted for heavy snow accumulating above 400 metres over southern Fiordland, Southland, Otago and Banks Peninsula, MetService said.

Thunderstorms and hail hit Auckland, the Coromandel and Taranaki this morning but are clearing, MetService said.

Some heavy showers might still affect Auckland and Northland later this evening.

SLIPPERY ROADS: Black ice forces a vehicle off the Clinton Highway between Clinton and Balclutha.
SLIPPERY ROADS: Black ice forces a vehicle off the Clinton Highway between Clinton and Balclutha.

By tomorrow, there would be only occasional showers in the northern and southern parts of the country.

It will be slightly warmer than today, as the bitterly cold southwest flow starts to come more from the west. 

There is a potential that the westerlies could reach severe gale strength in exposed areas of Southland and Clutha by Friday night, MetService said.

There might also be more snow down to 400m in Southland on Friday night and into Saturday morning.

LIGHTNING STRIKES

South Auckland residents had a narrow escape last night after a series of lightning strikes left walls damaged, windows shattered and a bed burnt.

Papakura resident Josh Roa and his wife were sleeping when their bed caught fire as a lightning bolt went through their telephone line up to the bedroom modem.

"My wife smelt the burning and said 'the bed is on fire'," he said.

"Forty 40 seconds later the smoke alarm went off."

Roa used water from the laundry tub to fight the fire until emergency services arrived.

Next door, 10 minutes after Carletta Bongard got out of the shower, lightning hit her house, smashing several windows and severely damaging the bathroom, causing the shower to cave in.

"I keep thinking about what could have happened if I hadn't got out 10 minutes earlier," she said.

"I shouldn't but it is hard. It was a shock."

Roa said electrical crews are working to bring power back to the houses but is unsure when that would be.

"But right now we are really just focusing on our three little girls," he said.

"Tonight they are getting a full fire drill training."

The Fire Service said lightning strikes hit Pukekohe and Papakura about 10.30pm, knocking out power to several homes.

RELIEF FOR SKI FIELDS

Operators of many of New Zealand's ski fields would be rubbing their hands with glee at the snowfall.

Flurries of fresh snow settled briefly in downtown Queenstown, Frankton and Arthurs Pt while around the region, skifields were enjoying solid snowfall after a dire start to the season.

Up to 20cm accumulated on the skifields.

The Remarkables, with a multimillion-dollar terrain expansion and new Curvey Basin chairlift, opens today. Ski area manager Ross Lawrence said 10cm of fresh snow had accumulated by the yesterday afternoon. All areas, with the exception of Shadow Basin, were expected to open.

"We're certainly pretty excited," he said.

"[On] Friday there's some more snow coming in and it's very cold so there's lots of snowmaking. On the first chair the bubbles will be out for sure.

"We'll be celebrating getting up and running, it's up to the public now to come on up, take it in and enjoy."

Last month, southern ski fields, with the exception of Coronet Peak, delayed scheduled openings due to a lack of snow but with school holidays rapidly approaching, the dump spells relief.

Mt Ruapehu ski field operators said on their website, 25cm of snow had fallen in 24 hours in the base area of Turoa and 20cm in the base area Whakapapa, in the central North Island.

This enabled the operators to open Turoa today, with a total snow base of 85cm.

Whakapapa is expected to open on Saturday and has a snow base of 80cm.

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