Happening Globally

‘Plenty more’ snow on the way as polar blast grips NZ

A late-season polar blast brought “good snow showers” overnight in Southland and Otago, while roads were closed in Christchurch, Wairarapa and the central North Island.

State Highway 75 was closed from Little River to Barry’s Bay due to heavy snow on Thursday and several roads were closed south, including SH85 Kyburn to Palmerston, SH87 Kyburn to Outram, SH1 Dunedin to Palmerston and SH8 Roxburgh to Alexandra.

State Highway 2 is also closed at Remutaka Hill in the Wairarapa, as is the Desert Road.

Snow was reported Wednesday evening in Johnsonville, Wellington, a MetService meteorologist said.

Also read:
* Clear skies and frosty temperatures ahead as polar eruptions move north
* WEATHER: Risk of heavy snow for central areas, damaging swells, freezing starts to rise far south
* Increased chance of snow in Dunedin and snow at sea level in Christchurch

“There are a lot more snow showers on the way for areas like the Southland,” they said.

Snow falls heavily in Dunedin overnight.

Hamish McNeely/Stuff

Snow falls heavily in Dunedin overnight.

About a dozen lightning strikes – known as thunderstorms when accompanied by snow – hit parts of Southland, Otago and Canterbury on Wednesday, with the Wairarapa coast next in line on Thursday.

Christchurch and Wellington will be -7C on Thursday morning, with some low-lying areas in the south expected to feel as cold as -10C, Metservice said.

Heavy snow warnings have been issued for Banks Peninsula and the Southlands, with heavy snow watches for the Canterbury High Country, Otago and Marlborough, south of the Clarence River.

Road avalanche warnings have been issued for alpine passes and some highways across Fiordland and Otago.

Isla Brown, 5, plays in the snow in Geraldine after snow fell on parts of South Canterbury.

John Bisset/Stuff

Isla Brown, 5, plays in the snow in Geraldine after snow fell on parts of South Canterbury.

Metservice said up to 20cm of snow was expected above 200m above sea level in Christchurch.

Forecasters warned that the cold conditions would put stress on livestock.

A dusting of light snow is expected in the region till 9 am on Thursday.

The warning remained in place until 6pm on Thursday on State Highway 1 north of Dunedin, with a further 4-6cm of snow expected.

A heavy snow watch has been issued overnight for Wellington, Wairarapa and the eastern hills of the Tararua Range south of Mt Bruce, but is expected to taper off by 1pm on Thursday.

Robin Stokes, of Caitock, Upper Hutt, said she was woken by hail around midnight and it snowed for the rest of the night.

“I woke up and thought, ‘Wow. It’s a winter wonderland out here right now,’” Stokes said.

Trains canceled in Wairarapa due to weather.

The MetService said snow could fall to sea level in the Wairarapa by 1pm, with areas above 200m “reaching warning criteria”.

Wellington is in for showers and strengthening winds on Thursday evening, while Auckland is also expected to see heavy rain.

‘Plenty more’ snow on the way as polar blast grips NZ

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‘Plenty more’ snow on the way as polar blast grips NZ

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‘Plenty more’ snow on the way as polar blast grips NZ

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