Weather: South Island wakes to winter wonderland, 25 hours of snow expected for central North Island, five highways closed as temperatures plunge

103 min read

There may be some frost on windshields this morning as people around the country wake up to another chilly morning.

The country is being urged to rug up with extra layers today as temperatures have plummeted by up to 6C lower than the average and a cold front creeps up the country.

MetService meteorologist April Clark said the cold front is currently tracking over the North Island and showers are following it closely.

There is a 25-hour road snowfall warning in place for the Desert Rd which is currently closed.

Highways across the South Island are also closed this morning due to snow and ice – they include Lewis Pass, Arthur’s Pass, State Highway 1 between Waitati and Dunedin and State Highway 87 between Outram and Middlemarch.


Advertise with NZME.

Those in northern Canterbury have woken to a winter wonderland with snow down to around 200m.

There is a moderate risk for thunderstorms across the west coast of the Northland, Auckland, Waikato and northern Waitomo from late this morning and for central and eastern Bay of Plenty and northern Gisborne this afternoon.

“If these thunderstorms occur, they are likely to be accompanied by localised heavy rain with intensities of 10 to 15 mm per hour and small hail.”

The coldest area in the country overnight was Tekapo which got down to a freezing –6.6C.


Advertise with NZME.

Lake Pukaki’s overnight low was –5.7C and Timaru’s was –3.1C.

In the North Island the Central Plateau saw an overnight low of –3.3C and Wellington got down to –1.1C.

Clark said tonight is expected to be even colder as the cold snap moves up the country and clouds clear.

Queenstown is expected to get down to –5C tonight while Christchurch, Ashburton and Timaru will get down to –3C.

Rotorua and Taupō are expected to get down to –1C

On Friday, Taupō’s overnight low will be –2C and Masterton’s will be –3C.

Southern District police are asking urging motorists to take extra care on the roads this morning following crashes across Dunedin due to the frosty conditions.

A police spokesperson said there have been crashes on Stuart St in the city, as well as on bridges south of Dunedin on State Highway 1.

“Give yourself extra following distance, and delay travelling if at all possible,” they said.

It’s a winter wonderland out there for parts of Hurunui District today. Please keep a close eye on weather reports, and…

Posted by Hurunui District Council on Wednesday, August 9, 2023

Clark said there is a road snowfall warning for the Remutaka Hill which could see between 4-6cm of snow before midday.


Advertise with NZME.

She there is also a road snowfall warning for the Desert Rd between 2pm and 11pm today and for the Napier-Taupō road from this evening.

She said areas where it is not snowing can still expect icy conditions, especially in the lower South Island.

“Even if you’re heading out and it’s not snowing, there’s definitely still some wintry conditions out there.”

Arthur’s Pass and Porters Pass had between 3-10cm of snowfall overnight while between 1-5cm fell on the Lewis Pass.

A light dusting of snow above Hanmer Springs' main street. Photo / Shane Adcock
A light dusting of snow above Hanmer Springs’ main street. Photo / Shane Adcock

Mary Holloway, owner of the Powerhouse Cafe & Restaurant in Hanmer Springs, said there had been snow overnight but nothing like they were expecting.

”It’s actually a bit of a non-event. It’s very pretty at the moment, anywhere not paved is white and there’s snow on the hills around Hanmer. It was snowing an hour ago but it’s kind of stopped.”


Advertise with NZME.

The view from the top of the tower at Hanmer Springs Thermal Pool & Spa this morning. Photo / Shane Adcock
The view from the top of the tower at Hanmer Springs Thermal Pool & Spa this morning. Photo / Shane Adcock

Shane Adcock, marketing manager for Hanmer Springs Thermal Pools & Spa, said quite a bit of snow was forecast but it had turned out to be a “light dusting”.

Some snow had settled in the village on grass and trees but the streets were clear. There was more snow on Conical Hill and on the mountains.

”There’ll be some beautiful wintry snow photos, possibly a few snowmen and snowball fights.”

Light snow in a paddock outside Hanmer Springs this morning - much less than was forecast. Photo / Shane Adcock
Light snow in a paddock outside Hanmer Springs this morning – much less than was forecast. Photo / Shane Adcock

Yesterday, the weather grounded a plane in Wellington due to it needing to be “de-iced”, and temperatures plummeted around the country.

Forecasters are warning there will not be much respite from the chilly weather today.

A cold front began to move northwards across the South Island yesterday and continues to do so this morning, bringing snow to low levels, especially in the south and east.


Advertise with NZME.

In Auckland, rainstorms are possible in the west and are likely to become frequent and heavy in the morning. Cold westerly winds will change to southerly in the evening.

There is expected to be an extra nip in the air, according to MetService, with daytime temperatures in Auckland only reaching 13C.

Hamilton is only expected to climb to 12C, and Wellington only 9C.

For the South Island, Queenstown is only forecast to warm up to a chilly 6C, while Christchurch, Dunedin, and Invercargill are all expected to reach 8C.

There will undoubtedly be a greater chill in the air as a result of this southwesterly flow across the country.

Before dawn, there is a moderate chance of thunderstorms in the Taranaki Bight and the coastal regions of Taranaki, Horowhenua, and Kāpiti.


Advertise with NZME.

There is a moderate risk of thunderstorms along the west coast from northern Taranaki to Northland throughout the morning. If these thunderstorms develop, they will probably be accompanied by small hail and localised heavy rain with intensities of 10 to 15mm per hour.

A little further inland from the moderate risk area, throughout the Coromandel Peninsula, and the Bay of Plenty, there is a low probability of thunderstorms.

Heavy snow was expected to fall on inland Canterbury from 8pm last night until 9am today, with snow expected in the region of Arthur’s Pass, the Richmond Range and Marlborough.

Travellers on Arthur’s Pass should expect snow to settle approximately 10 to 20cm thick on some areas of the route as snow is predicted to fall to a height of around 200 metres, with heavier amounts above 400m.

Between yesterday afternoon and this morning, snow was predicted for inland Buller, Tasman, inland Otago, and Queenstown.

Some 4 to 6cm of snow is anticipated to fall on the Remutaka Ranges this morning, and a comparable amount on the Desert Rd.


Advertise with NZME.

With 2 to 6cm of snow predicted for this afternoon, the Napier-Taupō road will also receive a coating.

Both roads have road snowfall warnings in place.

Source link