Big frost ices up Southland roads

Last updated 05:00 19/07/2014
Southland frost
JOHN HAWKINS/Fairfax NZ
NATURE PERFORMS: A paddock on Co-Bakker Rd, near Invercargill, sparkles in the frosty sunlight yesterday. Southlanders awoke to an 11-degree frost yesterday.

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Icy road conditions had fire engines crawling at 20kmh as they headed to a callout in Eastern Southland yesterday.

Chief fire officer Steve Lee, of Gore volunteer fire brigade, said Charlton and Waimumu roads were solid with ice.

"In some areas we were down to 20kmh in the shade, especially in those shaded corners."

The first truck was forwarding information back to the other vehicles so they could be aware of ice on their way," Lee said.

Jack Frost truly made his presence felt in the south yesterday morning.

Sergeant Clint Wright, of Gore, said ice was to blame for a crash on the Waipahi Highway near McNab on Thursday night.

A driver hit a patch of ice on the road and came to rest in the water table, he said. She was taken to Gore Hospital with a sore neck but was later discharged.

In Invercargill yesterday, people woke up to an 11-degree frost, after a 10-degree frost on Thursday morning.

45S Weather Services technician Michael Bailey said such frosts were not unusual for July.

During the 1996 "big freeze", a whopping 14.2-degree frost was recorded.

Roads throughout the region were slippery, with four people were taken to hospital yesterday after the car they were travelling in rolled near Mokotua.

A police communications spokesman said emergency services were called to the Gorge Road-Invercargill highway before 5am.

St John confirmed four people were taken to Southland Hospital with minor to moderate injuries.

Emergency services were still warning motorists to be careful on the icy roads.

The intense cold should abate today, with cloud increasing over the weekend, bringing with it a chance of showers, Bailey said.

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