Christchurch polar blast not yet over

06:02, Jun 21 2013
Methven snow
WHITE BLANKET: Methven resident Matt Markham says up to 25cm of snow has fallen in his neighbourhood overnight.
Methven snow
CHILLY DAY: Matt Markham's house in Methven is covered in snow.
Ashburton snow
SNOW DAY: Tess Makitane says snow is still hanging around at her home in Allenton, Ashburton, even after about two hours of rain.
Bread shortage
RISING DEMAND: Bread rationing comes into effect at Raeward Fresh in Harewood.
Darfield snow
PRETTY AS A PICTURE: Snow dusts the Homebush's Woolshed in Darfield.
Springfield snow
PLAYTIME: Chloe, 7, and Zara, 4, enjoy the snowfall in Springfield.
Hororata snow
WINTER BITES: Michael Groters, of Hororata, gets the feed ready as snow begins to fall.
Cust snow
WINTER WONDERLAND: Erin Morrison's deck in Summerhill, Cust, is covered in snow.
Steve Lambert
LEVELS RISING: Leeston resident Steve Lambert braves the rising floodwaters.
Feeding out in the snow
AT WORK: Canterbury farmers are ensuring stock are fed during the snow storm.
Hororata to Methven road under snow
DIFFICULT CONDITIONS: Snow covers the main road from Hororata to Methven.
WHITE OUT: Farmer Andy Muir took this photo of his paddocks at Cattle Flat on the Mataura River, near Balfour.
WILD WEATHER: The West Coast has not missed the bad weather, with winds ripping off the roof off the Whataroa general store, in South Westland.
FLOODED: David MacKenzie has serious flooding at his Doylston house.
COLD BLAST: Georgia Gerard, 8, from Methven wraps up warm against the elements today.
HEAVY FALL: Rain is starting to wash the snow away in Methven.
STAY HOME: Leeston Consolidated School has been closed due to flooding.
EMERGENCY MEASURES: Sand-bagging on Drain Rd in Doylston to stop the creek flowing into Greenan Pl.
HOT POOLS: A snow fight at the Hanmer hot pools today.
STILL FALLING: Delwyn O'Connor says Tekapo has received 60cm of snow and it is still snowing heavily.
WINTER WONDERLAND: Hugh McCafferty sent in this photo of his front porch in Geraldine.
FIRST SNOW: Kylee Simpson snapped this photo of her son Riley, 14 months, playing in his first snow at Lake Coleridge today.
HAMMERED DOWN: Wind lifted part of the roof at the Howzat Indoor Sports Centre today.
PICTURESQUE: The view at Waipori Station on Lake Mahinerangi in Otago this afternoon. Station staff have been attempting to clear roads with tractors so they can feed stock.

Christchurch's earthquake-damaged stormwater and sewerage systems are struggling in what could prove to be the wettest June on record.

The silver lining for the city has been a drastic reduction in reported crime, with police reporting half the number of domestic-violence incidents and only one burglary last night.

List of closures, cancellations

Huntsbury Hill snow
WHITE BLANKET: Snow has settled on the Port Hills. Huntsbury Hill is as pretty as a picture.
Cashmere snow
BRRRR: The snow finally hits Christchurch. Cars in Hackthorne Rd, Cashmere, are covered.
Cashmere snow
WINTER DRIVE: A scooter rider braves the snow in Hackthorne Rd, Cashmere.
Cashmere snow
FUN TIMES: Ocean Beso plays in the snow in Hackthorne Rd, Cashmere.
Dyers Pass Rd snow
TRAVEL DISRUPTION: Heavy snow has closed Dyers Pass Rd between Cashmere and Governors Bay.
Hackthorne Rd snow
SAFETY FIRST: Cameron Strange, of Downers, closes Hackthorne Rd in Cashmere as snow settles on the ground.
North New Brighton snow
LIGHT DUSTING: Snow settling on cleared land in the residential red zone in North New Brighton.
City centre snow
LOTS OF FLAKES: Snow falls heavily in the city centre, and begins to settle on the Christ Church Cathedral.
Christchurch snow
CITY SNOW: Snowflakes fall around the Victoria St Clock Tower.
Danielle on Brighton pier
SEASIDE: Danielle braved the freezing winds and snow to take a walk on New Brighton pier.
New Brighton Beach snow
CHILLY DAY: Snow dusts New Brighton Beach.
Cashmere snow
SPECIAL DELIVERY: Caleb Butcher has to put chains on his 4WD to get back down the hill after delivering milk and bread to his grandma in Dyers Pass Rd.
Clearing snow on Dyers Pass Rd
NO TIME WASTED: A truck clears snow on Dyers Pass Rd.
Sara Allen
WELCOME HOME: Sara Allen arrives back from Auckland to visit her mum in Cashmere.
Dyers Pass Rd closed
CLOSED: The closure of Dyers Pass Rd forces motorists to divert through Lyttelton tunnel or Gebbies Pass.
St Asaph St hole
FLOODING: The road collapsed in St Asaph St after a water main burst.
Tai Tapu farmland under water
UNDER WATER: Large areas of Tai Tapu farmland are in flood.
Birdlings Flat stormy water
STORMY SEAS: Birdlings Flat is being pounded by high seas.
Christchurch East school closed for snow
CLOSED: Christchurch East school is one of 71 in Canterbury to close for the day.
Andy Bean with Noah and Arlo
SENT HOME: Andy Bean picks up children Noah, 8, (in green) and Arlo, 6, after Christchurch East school closed.
Walking dogs in the snow
AVON RIVER WALK: Dallington dog walkers Ashley and Margaret Heywood with their charges Dash, Holly and Rusty.
Phoebe Sage
WILLING HELPER: Phoebe Sage, 8, of St Martins helps clear the snow.
Eli Hansen
SNOW DELIGHTS: Eli Hansen, 5, makes the most of a day off school to play at Victoria Park, Cashmere.

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Area commander Superintendent Andy McGregor said there had been a 40 per cent reduction in demand for police services in the city over the past 24 hours.

"It was very quiet last night. We had only one report of a burglary last night."

Crime was down "across the board", with most people staying home.

The number of reported domestic-violence incidents had been half of what police normally received, he said.

"People might not have been going out for a drink."

The key concern for police was road safety, although people seemed to be getting better at driving to the conditions in Christchurch, McGregor said.

"But we're telling people don't get complacent," he said.


Cashmere snow
FLURRIES: Harry Ell Drive in Cashmere has been dusted with snow.
New Brighton Beach snow
TOO COLD TO SWIM: New Brighton Beach is covered in snow.
Christchurch snow
WHITE BLANKET: The view from Hamish Upton's lounge in Cashmere.
Christchurch snow
WHITE OUT: Snow in Cashmere.
Christchurch snow
DUSTING: Snow in St Albans.
Huntsbury Hill by Tim McGinn
WONDERLAND: Snow thickly blankets these Huntsbury Hill homes.
Christchurch snow
PLAYTIME: Snow falls in the Garden City.
Christchurch snow
SNOWY RIVER: Snow is scattered around Avonside about 8am.
Christchurch snow
WINTER'S ARRIVED: Snow in Rees St.
Christchurch snow
SNOW: Ducks in Fitzgerald Ave.
Christchurch snow
CLEAR MOMENT: Tessa Rait captures a break in the snowfall from her Hazeldean Rd workplace.
Christchurch snow
WINTER FUN: Children go sledding in Longhurst Tce.
Christchurch snow
CRISP MORNING: Snow covers Christchurch city.
Christchurch snow
PICTURESQUE: The Port Hills can be seen from from Brougham St/Opawa Rd intersection at 10.30am.
Christchurch readers' snow photos: June 21, 2013
POM POM PICNIC: A table is covered in deep snow in Castle Hill.
Christchurch readers' snow photos: June 21, 2013
DIG DEEP: A Castle Hill resident digs a path through deep snow.

The heavy rain contributed to a burst water main in the central city this morning and blocked drains across the city, with warnings about contaminated water and severe flooding of farmland near Tai Tapu.

While the morning's snow and sleet has cleared over the city, it is likely to return overnight, forecasters warn.

In the past 48 hours, Christchurch received over half its expected rainfall for June.

south canterbury snow
WAIST-DEEP: Mark Bascand and Aya Otani at Mt Cook Village have their house surrounded by 1.5m of snow.
south canterbury snow
SNOWED IN: Mark Bascand and Aya Otani's house at Mt Cook Village is surrounded by 1.5m of snow.
south canterbury snow
HEAVY LOAD: Graham Parcell clears snow from the roof of his campervan in Fairlie.
south canterbury snow
NOT ALL BAD: Justin Heintz, of Fairlie, puts the finishing touches on his snowman in Fairlie.
south canterbury snow
CHILLY: Sheep look for grass on Clayton Rd near Lake Opuha.
High winds warning sign near Kaikoura
WARNING: Information sign north of Kaikoura.
Tekapo cars
SNOWED IN: Tekapo vehicles disappearing under the snow.
FLOODING: Large areas of farmland are underwater near Tai Tapu today.
STUNNING: Snow settles in Hanmer Springs.
STUNNING: A view of snow lying on the hills surrounding Hanmer Springs
WAITING: Richard Ellis from Hokitika waits at the road block just west of Springfield for the road to open so he can get home, he spent the night at the Springfield Hotel.
Bailey Baker, 8, and Sophie Toulson
BUDDIES: Bailey Baker, 8, and Sophie Toulson, 7, enoying the weather on Luers Road behind Oxford.

Thirty millimetres of rain, sleet and snow had fallen in Christchurch since noon on Wednesday, MetService data show, and the city's average rainfall for June was usually about 56mm.

Darfield had over 54 mm, Methven 49.6mm, Le Bons Bay 33.4mm and Ashburton 66mm.

Kaikoura recorded 47mm, but no data had been received from the weather station since 7pm yesterday, so it was likely to be considerably higher, a MetService spokesman said.

The deluge comes less than a week after Christchurch was hit by more than 90mm of rain in 48 hours, meaning this could be Christchurch's wettest June on record.

The highest rainfall for June was recorded in 1995, when the city had 183mm of rain.

And more is yet to come.

The polar storm's final fling could cuff Christchurch and coastal Canterbury tomorrow morning in a repeat of that experienced today.

Computer models are picking a large area of active shower clouds will spin around the back of the low-pressure centre east of the South Island and flick another period of snow onshore.

That looks most likely to happen between about 6am and noon tomorrow.

Once that clears, wintry showers are predicted throughout tomorrow afternoon, but to a large extent the worst of the three-day storm will then be over.

Blue Skies Weather forecaster Tony Trewinnard said sleet and hail showers this afternoon across the city were likely to turn back to snow overnight as the temperature dropped again.

"It might start to settle again, and tomorrow morning, before it starts to disappear. Small hail showers are then likely on and off through the rest of the day before dying out later," he said.


Many Christchurch schools closed for the day, while others advised parents to keep children at home.

The Ministry of Education said a total of 71 schools closed across Canterbury today, and about 30 in Otago and Southland.

Dyers Pass Rd was due to reopen about 2.30pm after being closed from the Sign of the Takahe to Governors Bay. Council staff had to help several motorists who became stuck in the snow.

A North New Brighton mother-of-one said her toilet was blocked, and council staff told her it was "probably weather-related".

The Christchurch City Council has warned that some flooded roads and parks could contain contaminated water,.

A council spokesman said earthquake-damaged wastewater systems were fragile in parts of the city and had been blocked by rain.

''It's possible flooded roads and parks may be contaminated, so avoid the water where possible or make sure you wash your hands and remove and wash any clothing that gets wet,'' he said.

Hill roads were dangerous for motorists​, the council said.​

Manaroa Farm owner Andrew Florance said most of his farm near Tai Tapu was under water, partly because of rain, but also because or poor drainage.

Power was cut in Arthur's Pass, Hororata and South Canterbury.

An Intercity bus from Christchurch to Blenheim was stranded in Kaikoura overnight when State Highway 1 was closed. The 19 passengers were put up in Kaikoura backpackers and motels.

Many sporting fixtures have been cancelled, including all Canterbury Rugby League games, all lower-grade Mainland Football games and Future Ferns netball tonight.

All metropolitan club rugby has been called off, except division one.

Canterbury Hockey was set to announce cancellations today.

The Press has been unable to deliver papers to areas north of Amberley.

Environment Canterbury has relaxed clean-air rules for those needing to use logburners to keep warm.

The council asked motorists to slow down and drive with care, especially through flooded areas, as the waves caused by vehicles could cause further flooding to already at-risk properties.

Neither the Christchurch police nor the Fire Service had been called to any weather-related incidents since the snow began falling over the city, and St John said its ambulance service's workload was no higher than normal.

Some flights in and out of Christchurch Airport were delayed or cancelled this morning.

Snow, sleet and heavy rain caused havoc across the Hurunui District overnight, with gale-force winds bringing down power lines and trees.

Porters Pass, the Lewis Pass and the Lindis Pass are closed and chains are essential over Arthur's Pass.

The Press