Snow falling in Queenstown

Snow at Arrowtown this morning

Snow has started to fall in central Queenstown as a late wintry blast hits the lower South Island.

This comes as the MetService has confirmed heavy snow is likely to fall in inland Southland, Central Otago and inland Clutha for the next two days.

Queenstown Lakes District Council (QLDC) confirmed at about 8.15am that the Crown Range was closed and trucks were working to clear it following heavy snow overnight.

It reopened shortly before 11am.

QLDC said there had also been reports of snow in Fernhill.

Aurora Energy also says power’s out at Arthurs Point and Lower Shotover.

A tree down near the Wiltshire St roundabout in Arrowtown.

”Our response crew is on their way to investigate the problem.

”At this stage we’re unable to give a time when power will be restored but we’ll keep you updated as information becomes available.

”Please keep clear of fallen power lines or damaged electrical equipment and treat them as live at all times.”

Meanwhile, the Central Otago District Council said there had been some snow overnight, particularly in the Manuherikia and Maniototo areas. Snow was not lying on the road, but gravel roads were icy as a result.

Danseys Pass Road was closed due to snow and ice.

Road snow warnings are in place for Lewis Pass (State Highway 7), Arthur’s Pass (SH73), Porters Pass (SH73), Lindis Pass (SH8), Crown Range Rd and Milford Road (SH94).

A MetService spokesman said cold southerlies were expected to affect the south of the South Island from today until late tomorrow, bringing wintry conditions.

“A heavy snow warning is now in force for inland Southland, Central Otago and inland Clutha.

“Snow should lower to 400m to 500m at times, with significant snow accumulation above 800m.

“Expect 30cm to 40cm of snow to accumulate above 800m during the period, and lesser amounts to 600m.

“Heavy snow may disrupt travel in affected areas and could damage trees and powerlines.

“Cold conditions may cause stress for livestock.

“People are advised to keep up-to-date with the latest forecast in case more areas are added to the warning.”

He said the snow was not expected to affect Dunedin, but sleet was likely to fall at lower levels.

A heavy rain watch is in place for coastal areas of Dunedin, Clutha and North Otago until 9pm tonight and there was a moderate risk of thunderstorms in coastal areas of Otago, Southland and Canterbury south of Christchurch.

The city was hit by unseasonably fluctuating conditions yesterday, going from summery weather to heavy rain, hail, thunder and lightning and back again.

It was the very definition of four seasons in one day.

Much of Otago and Southland was hit by the forecast  stormy weather at different times yesterday.

The storm passed over Dunedin about 1pm, and some residents described the hail stones as being the size of liquorice allsorts.

“I’ve never seen hail like it here before,” a Halfway Bush resident said.

Although the heavy rain and hail blocked drains temporarily, no major damage was reported.