Weather: Chilly morning, snow on the way

Snow is on the way for high country passes in the South Island and parts of the central North Island as chilly winter temperatures start to bite.

Road winding through a snow covered Lewis Pass, Canterbury, South Island, New Zealand

Snow on Lindis Pass (file photo). Photo: 123RF

The South Island had another cold start to the day with Alexandra and Tekapo recording the lowest overnight temperature of -2.4C.

Motorists on the alpine highways can expect snow flurries today before heavier falls settle from this evening.

Strong cold southerlies are due to bring significant snowfall to low levels over the central North Island from tomorrow afternoon.

A heavy snow watch is in place for Taihape.

Up to 20cm of snow is expected to settle on the Desert Road above 600m tomorrow evening.

In the South Island, road snowfall warnings are in place for the Lewis, Arthur’s, Lindis and Porters passes as well as the Crown Range.

Up to 8cm of snow is expected to settle on the higher sections of the Porters Pass.

Ice and black ice is expected to form on roads around the Queenstown Lakes, with the local council urging people to take extra care.

Meanwhile heavy rain is forecast for Wairoa District today, and Wellington is in for strong southerlies tomorrow and Thursday.

MetService road warnings in place until 10pm today:

Desert Road (SH1)

Some snow flurries may affect the road today but little if any snow is expected to settle. A few snow showers may bring 1 or 2cm above about 800 metres Wednesday morning. Snow is expected to affect the road Wednesday afternoon and evening when a total of 15 to 20cm may accumulate above about 600 metres, mainly south of the summit.

Lewis Pass (SH7)

Some snow showers are expected to affect the road from Tuesday evening through Wednesday. 2 to 4cm of snow may settle above about 400 metres, mainly east of the summit.

Arthur’s Pass (SH73)

Some snow flurries may affect the road this evening and overnight but little if any snow is expected to settle on the road.

Porters Pass (SH73)

Expect 4 to 8cm of snow to settle above about 700 metres but lesser amounts to about 500 metres in snow showers this evening. Expect a further 2 to 4cm above about 400 metres in snow showers during Wednesday.

Lindis Pass (SH8)

Some snow showers are expected this afternoon. About 1cm may settle on the road above about 800 metres.

Crown Range Road

Snow showers are expected this afternoon. 1 or 2cm of snow may settle near the summit of the road, with lesser amounts to around 900 metres.

MetService warnings are regularly updated. For the latest check here.

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