Cold snap closes roads
Wed, 12 Sep 2012 7:13a.m.
Roads in the lower half of the North Island and much of the South Island were closed this morning after a cold snap brought heavy snowfalls.
The Rimutaka Hill road, the main link between Wairarapa and Wellington, was closed about 5:45am, and the Desert Road between Rangipo and Waiouru was closed last night.
Snow was also causing issues on the Napier-Taupo highway, and a no-stopping restriction was in place in SH46 between Rangipo and Otukou due the the possibility of flash flooding.
In the South Island, SH87 from Outram to Middlemarch and SH94 from Te Anau to Milford Sound were both closed by snow, while chains were required on SH6 from Arrow Junction to Kingston and care was required due to snow on SH6A from Frankton to Queenstown and SH73 from Springfield to Arthurs Pass.
Despite the snow, emergency services report few weather-related incidents overnight.
"It's been unusually quiet really," Fire Service southern communications shift manager Andrew Norris said.
The cold snap is expected to continue heading up the North Island on Wednesday, and farmers were warned the freezing temperatures could be stressful on stock.
Overnight hail fell in all the main centres, which is quite rare, says WeatherWatch.co.nz's Philip Duncan, who is also warning of black ice on the roads and frosts.
"Growers and orchardists are now advised to be prepared for frosts tonight and tomorrow - some may be heavy," says Mr Duncan.
"There were also reports of snow pellets, also known as graupel, that fell on the Waitakere Ranges briefly overnight in Auckland."
Snow even fell in Stratford as cold air moved through overnight, which Mr Duncan says was the area only being considered low risk for snow.
NZN / 3 News
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12/09/2012 12:11:39 p.m.
Hmmmm. This global warming is sure getting worse.
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