Snow disrupts travel in North, South islands

BRRR: The Desert Rd and the Central Plateau early this morning.
BRRR: The Desert Rd and the Central Plateau early this morning.

The Desert Road in the central North Island has reopened after being closed overnight due to snow.

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MetService said there had been an estimated 2-4cm of snow on the Desert Road overnight, and 1cm reported at 700m in Taihape as a cold snap continued to make its way up the country.

The North Island highway through the Central Plateau was closed about 3.30am with heavy snow reported in Waiouru, Sergeant Andy Dow said.

It reopened just before 10am, but winter driving conditions applied.

In the South Island, Arthur's Pass was closed to towing vehicles, while other vehicles would need chains with snow blanketing the area.

The road from Te Anau to Milford Sound was closed as contractors clear snow and avalanche prevention work was carried out.

The Lindis and Lewis passes were open.

MetService duty forecaster Hannah Moes said though freezing levels were still low over the country, showers were falling as snow on high parts.

"We're stuck in this disturbed southwesterly flow so as various fronts push up over the country we're getting colder air each time and snow with each front."


Cantabrians rose to a thick coating of frost this morning as the mercury dipped to a chilly -2.8 degrees Celsius.

According to the MetService, it feels like -5C, as Christchurch prepares for a fine day of 11C before a southerly change brings showers from this afternoon.

"The weather looks to be a bit unsettled this week, but it looks like we will be in for a good weekend," MetService duty forecaster Melissa Roux said.

This morning another cold front pushing up over the South Island would bring rain to the West Coast, with snow to 300m and scattered falls to the east with snow to 200m.

It would become warmer as it moved north, with rain on the cards for the lower North Island and snow to 700m this evening, Moes said.

Taranaki up through Waikato, Auckland and Northland would today experience fine patches interspersed with heavy showers. 

The Dominion Post