Cars slip and crash

Snow blankets skifields ... and some roads

DEBBIE JAMIESON
Last updated 05:00 22/07/2014
Drivers
JAMES ALLAN/Fairfax NZ

TAKING IT EASY: Drivers were forced to take their time as snow and ice blanketed Malaghans Rd, between Arthurs Pt and Arrowtown.

Rugged up horses
JAMES ALLAN/Fairfax NZ
RUGGED UP: These two keep warm on Malaghans Rd yesterday, between Arthurs Pt and Arrowtown.

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Snow showers are expected to ease after a southwesterly blast hailed a return to winter weather.

Skifield operators in the Queenstown area were delighted with the post-school holiday top-up but several motorists were caught out in the cold conditions.

Sergeant Tracy Haggart, of Queenstown, said police attended three crashes near the zigzag approach to the Crown Terrace as snow settled about 9am.

The first car slid to a standstill at the top of the zigzag but was damaged only when a second car slid and crashed into it. There were no injuries, and damage to the vehicles was minor. About 10 minutes later, an Alpine Connections van towing a luggage trailer slid in the same area and jack-knifed, needing assistance.

The Queenstown Lakes District Council put out a warning to all motorists using the road that chains were essential, and police spent several hours checking for compliance.

Earlier, police had dealt with a car that rolled on ice at Goldfield Heights and another that slid in nearby Middleton Rd.

While snow settled in Arrowtown and outlying areas, Queenstown had only brief showers during the day and Wanaka enjoyed mild conditions.

Wakatipu skifields had up to 10cm of fresh snow at Coronet Peak and 15cm at the Remarkables with more forecast today.

The NZ Transport Agency issued cautions about driving on State Highway 6 from King- ston to Lumsden and State Highway 94 from Te Anau to Milford. MetService meteorologist John Law said the southwesterly flow would continue to be felt in the Central Otago and Southland areas this morning, with snow showers in the Catlins and Queenstown areas, but freezing levels would lift to 600m or 700m later in the day.

"We'll be back into nice clear skies by day and night and we know that means some frosty old starts for Wednesday and Thursday."

Council transport senior engineer Richard Hilliard said extra resources, including three snow ploughs, were deployed to the Crown Range on Sunday night and were going to spread grit again last night.

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- The Southland Times

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