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Roads closed as NZ shivers in polar blast

Many South Island roads are closed because of snow and motorists also need to be on the look-out for ice, the Transport Agency says.


The cold weather bringing snow and icy roads to the south this morning is moving quickly up the country.

The Crown Range road between Wanaka and Queenstown, and other higher spots, have significant snowfall, MetService forecaster Nick Zachar said.

Snow and and ice has closed a number of alpine highways in central and southern South Island, was well as the Desert Road in the North Island.

Highways closed:

SH1 - Desert Road
SH2 - Waioeka Gorge between Opotiki and Gisborne
SH7 - Hanmer turnoff to Springs Junction (Lewis Pass)

Most were expected to open by 10am, but the Transport Agency said drivers should take extra care for ice and grit and on many alpine roads in the south.

Check out the Transport Agency's website for up-to-date information

A large slip has also blocked the highway between Gisborne and Bay of Plenty and it's expected to take more than a week to clear.

As the polar blast makes its way up the country, snow is forecast down to 100m in the South Island and 500m in the North Island.

MetService meterologist Brian Mercer said a south-westerly flow was moving up the country, with a cold front following close behind it.

He said stronger winds were due to hit Wellington at about 9am.

Snow was due to settle on the Rimutaka Hill Road (SH2) in the lower North Island, and more falls were due on the Desert Road early this afternoon, MetService said.

Cardrona ski field, between Queenstown and Wanaka, had gale southwesterlies and 10cm of snow overnight.

In Dunedin it started to snow sporadically after 5am, with most of it melting as it landed.

Temperatures dropped to -10.1°C at Mount Hutt and -4.6° overnight, MetService said.

More cold wintry showers and possible thunderstorms are forecast for coastal areas today.

Temperatures are set to plummet for all the main centres, with Auckland and Northland getting down to 4-6°C with strong gusting winds while the capital is expecting gale force southerlies and showers.

A ridge of high pressure will builds over the country from Wednesday, bringing clear skies and light winds which, with pre-existing snowfall on the ground, will bring down the overnight minimum temperatures for most parts of the country, MetService said.

https://www.geezgo.com/sps/28176

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