Road closes as Milford bears brunt of storm

23:41, Sep 14 2012
southland avalanche
A police highway patrol leaves the Milford Sound after the road was closed due to severe weather.

A torrent of rain left the Milford area sodden yesterday, with bleak weather conditions forcing the closure of State Highway 94 into the sound.

The New Zealand Transport Agency's area engineer for Southland, Peter Robinson, said the road from Te Anau to Milford Sound was closed at noon because of severe weather.

The highway is closed to all traffic from the Hollyford corner.

southland avalanche
A police highway patrol leaves the Milford Sound after the road was closed due to severe weather.

Strong winds had battered the area, snow was thick, and heavy rain began about noon, he said.

"It's fairly wet. What's coming through now is about 20 millimetres per hour of rainfall, which is about four times what you would consider normal rainfall per hour. Typically, you get about 5mm of rainfall per hour. It started just after lunch."

Heavy rain was still falling in the area last night.

Snow showers were also expected to hit overnight, bringing more wintry weather to the region.

Road conditions would be re-evaluated this morning, he said.

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The Southland Times