Chains needed for Queenstown’s Crown Range

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Police are instructing motorists to fit snow chains to cross the Crown Range after a series of crashes this morning (MONDAY).

Officers were called to the mountain road between Queenstown and Wanaka after several drivers spun in difficult conditions.

The road is now clear but patrol cars are stationed at the top of the zig zags with officers ensuring motorists stop and fit chains.

On the Wanaka side, where conditions are clearer, a road sign is informing drivers of the treacherous conditions up top.

Queenstown Lakes District Council has tweeted: “Chains are now essential and need to be fitted where indicated if travelling on the Crown Range due to snow.”

The council also advises that black ice is widespread across the Wakatipu from Glenorchy to Gibbston.

The runway is clear at Queenstown Airport but visibility is limited. Flight NZ5383 was diverted to Invercargill and the corresponding departure, flight NZ5080, is cancelled.

Schools remain open.

Queenstown’s mountains and hills were coated in snow this morning with up to 10cms at The Remarkables skifield and temperatures of -8 degrees.

Coronet Peak is reporting 3cm at the base level.

Coronet’s snow report reads: “We’ve had a good dust up overnight with fresh snow falling all the way into town.

“There’s 3cm sitting on our deck and 5cm at the top. It’s been evenly distributed across the mountain with a calm southerly wind helping to produce fine dry flakes. There’s more snow flurries expected throughout the day with winds increasing slightly.”

Chains are also required on roads to both skifields.

The MetService has issued a severe weather watch for Otago, Canterbury and Southland.

It says significant snowfalls of up to 15cms are likely above 300 metres through to Monday night.

“This snow is also likely to be accompanied by strong southerly winds about the hills which could produce blizzard like conditions and deeper snow drifts in some places,” it says.

Snow is also expected to fall down to sea level.