Wild weather in the south

COLD SNAP: Motorist are being warned to take care on Central Otago roads as a cold snap brings snow.
COLD SNAP: Motorist are being warned to take care on Central Otago roads as a cold snap brings snow.

Police are warning motorists driving around Central Otago to drive to conditions, with snow falling in parts of the region.

Chains are essential on State Highway 85 from Kyeburn to Omakau.

Meteorologist Liz Wash said a cold blast was expected to move in from this afternoon, bringing with it rain, sleet and snow.

Winds would not be as strong as they had been overnight, but Southland was ''not out of the woods yet''. Snow showers were likely to fall down to sea level, with up to 15 centimetres of snow expected to settle inland, she said.

Senior Sergeant Ian Kerrisk said motorists should take extra care on the roads and drive to the conditions.

The cold snap follows strong winds which kept emergency services busy this morning, as they worked to clear fallen trees and powerlines and secure loose roofs.

Police confirmed the number of weather-related callouts had dropped after a flurry early this morning.

Senior Sergeant Craig Brown, of southern police, said one of Invercargill's main streets was closed this morning after wind blew in a shop window.

A police officer spotted the smashed window in the Hallenstein's building, on Dee St, just before 7am, Brown said.

A large shard of glass was hanging off the roof and firefighters were called in to secure it.

The Invercargill City Council was alerted and part of the road was closed while glass was cleared up, he said.

Meanwhile, emergency services have reported several powerlines and trees blown down across roads.

A vehicle hit a fallen tree along SH6 near Lorneville about 6am, and a few minutes later a truck hit a cow while travelling along Old Coach Rd, between Clinton and Mataura, Brown said.

The cow was believed to escaped and run into the road after being spooked by the electrical storm.

Both the driver and cow were unharmed by the crash, but the cow was a ''little groggy'', he said.

Brown warned drivers to be wary of objects, including powerlines and trees, blown across the road, and to keep an eye on weather alerts, as snow was expected later today.

The Southland Times