Winter warning for Wakatipu drivers


Wakatipu motorists are being urged to drive with care as more snow blankets the resort.

The Wakatipu woke to more snow at low levels today (Tuesday) after the white stuff began falling in downtown Queenstown late last night and continues to fall this morning.

Several centimetres have fallen at elevated areas like Arrowtown and Arthurs Point, making roads dicey to drive on and chains needing be fitted for some vehicles.

All local schools had delayed starts this morning.

Acting senior sergeant Phil Hamlin says: “As the day progresses snow could start to freeze over and roads will become very icy for drivers, so motorists should be wary.”

Yesterday, a car lost control when it hit ice on Dalefield Road at midday, Hamlin says. The 31-year-old Speargrass Flat driver hit a bank and the car rolled. No injuries were reported.

An 8-year-old Australian girl was hit by a car in Arrowtown when she slipped on ice at 9am yesterday, Hamlin says. She had been walking across the road to watch horses in a paddock when she slipped and was unable to get up. The oncoming car couldn’t slow down due to the slippery conditions. She escaped with minor bruising.

No incidents have been reported so far today.

Meanwhile, local weatherman David Crow says snow will continue to fall over till Thursday.

“There will be snow showers on and off all day today,” he says.

“There’ll still be very heavy snow about the western ranges, they copped a fair bit but further east, east of Glenorchy, it’ll just be cloudy to overcast with occasional snow showers but nothing really heavy. There will be long dry periods too, with no snow at all.

Today’s maximum temperature will be a chilly five degrees, he adds.

“South-westerlies around town will be light to moderate but in exposed areas it could still be strong. I don’t think there’s going to be any decrease in those winds for several days.

“Tomorrow’s looking a bit better – still on the western ranges but just the odd snow shower tomorrow and still remaining cold. Thursday is going to get worse again with another front moving over us and snowy conditions becoming widespread during the day.”

Things are looking perfect for weekend skiing and snowboarding, with fine, clear, frost weather from Friday.

Local ski areas are reporting a big dumping of fresh snow on the slopes. Coronet Peak says it’s got 30cm of new snow while The Remarkables says it’s got 20cm. Cardrona Alpine Resort has 25cm.