Some schools and roads in the south are closed, while some PowerNet customers have also been affected by power disruptions as the winter blast continues to bite.
About 1700 PowerNet customers were effected by power disruptions overnight as snow, hail and sleet struck the region.
The disruptions were either momentary or power outages, with the majority of customers restored by 9am.
The main areas affected were the wider Clinton area, Lawrence, and Conical Hill, with Ohai, Edendale and Riverton experiencing momentary interruptions.
A statement from PowerNet this morning says the main problems included heavy snow loading, transient outages caused by flying debris, and a car crash.
One section of line, in the Slopedown area, still needed work, with 38 affected customers, the statement says.
State Highway 94, Te Anau to Milford, is closed, while State Highway 93 between Clinton and Mataura is also closed.
Other roads in the Clutha District are impassable because of snow drifts, while Dolamore Park Rd, in the Gore District, is open to 4wd vehicles only.
The New Zealand Transport Agency issued a warning this morning for State Highway 8 from Omarama to Tarras via the Lindis Pass due to snow. Road users are advised to carry chains.
The Queenstown Lakes District Council's daily road report advises that all roads in the district are open although both the Crown Range Rd and Coronet Peak access road require chains.
The Crown Range road is also closed to towing vehicles.
The weather has also closed some schools, with St Patricks School in Nightcaps and Takitimu School both closed today.
Met Service meteorologist Stephen Glassey said this morning a few more showers were expected for the rest of the day, which would turn to rain at lower levels with snow still falling on the hills.
Despite the hail, snow and sleet yesterday, only minor weather-related problems were reported.
Six flights at Invercargill Airport were cancelled, four coming to the city and two leaving.
Sleet and hail began to fall in Invercargill about 10.25am and by 1.50pm snow, sleet and hail coated the ground.
Snow covered the Southern Scenic Route from Wallacetown to south of Te Anau, providing challenging conditions for motorists.
Riverton resident Maurice Forde said he decided to wait out the bad weather at the Orepuki Tavern.
"The road between Riverton and Orepuki was really treacherous," he said.
"I nearly slid off the road after snow began falling around 11am."
Marj McDowell, of the Hungry Hippo, in Tuatapere, said the Hauroko School was closed and farmers had stocked up on groceries in anticipation of worse weather to come.
Manapouri resembled a Christmas village with the town blanketed in white.
Te Anau School principal Rob Rush said a handful of children were off school yesterday because of the wintry blast.
"In Te Anau itself it snowed on and off all day, but it amounted to nothing – but in the surrounding districts, Manapouri and up some of the other higher country, there was a fair bit of snow around," he said.
Fifteen children had the day off school.
Snow fell in flurries in Gore throughout the day but did not really settle, and about 4cm of snow had fallen around Clinton.
Snow showers were reported in Winton during the day, and heavier snow fell around Ohai, Nightcaps and Wairio throughout the day; elsewhere in the south conditions were brisk but sunny.
In Lumsden, Lucky Lotto owner Abizar Valibhai said the temperature was a cold but not unbearable 7.6 degrees Celsius about 3pm.
There had not been much snow – "just a few flakes" – and the sun shone for the afternoon, he said.
"[It was] just four seasons in one day," he said.
Gales of up to 150kmh were forecast for Stewart Island, but Halfmoon Bay Senior Constable Dale Jenkins said there had been no problems. "It didn't happen," he said.
Police are warning motorists to drive to the conditions during the wintry blast.
Acting southern road policing manager Senior Sergeant Steve Larking said there had already been crashes across the district during the past week as a result of people driving too fast in icy conditions.
Steady snow flurries blanketed the Wakatipu and Central Otago, disrupting schools, but bringing fresh powder to southern skifields.
Snow was almost at lake level in central Queenstown yesterday morning, and on the ground around Arrowtown and the Wakatipu basin.
The first big winter dumping closed the Crown Range road until 7.30am and with the Milford road closed indefinitely, schools in the area delayed opening until 10am.
Temperatures were as low as minus 7.5C on the Remarkables skifield, which received a 20cm dump, increasing its snow base to 50cm.
Meanwhile, Coronet Peak and Cardrona received 30cm and 25cm of overnight snow respectively. Treble Cone, which opens tomorrow, had 30cm of snow, bringing the Saddle Basin snow base to 80cm.
Slopes manager Dave Crotty said the next few days were positive with more snow forecast.
Cross-country skifield Snow Farm opens today.
On Arthurs Pt Rd near Queenstown a queue of traffic was stopped by NZSki staff to ensure motorists fitted chains before heading up to Coronet Peak.
A MetService forecast said there would be more snow showers overnight with cold gusty westerlies and the temperature would drop to freezing before climbing to 4C today.
Queenstown meteorologist David Crow said Thursday would bring further widespread snow dumps.
"There's a cold front coming through which will bring even more snow all around the area; however, a high coming across the Tasman sea should arrive by Friday and stay for the weekend, bringing blue sky days that will be very cold, but very crisp and clear."
Destination Queenstown chief executive Graham Budd said the timing of the snow dump during Winter Festival could not be better
"Mother Nature has definitely come to the party," he said.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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