Warnings of snow on southern roads for weekend ahead

by Kim Bowden - May 17, 2024

Weather forecasters are telling motorists to prepare for snow on some roads with snow expected to settle below 1,000 metres this weekend.

In the Southern Lakes, MetService has issued a road snow warning for the Crown Range from 8am Saturday.

The forecast is for three to four centimetres of snow near the summit, with lesser amounts to 400 metres.

On the Lindis Pass, the forecast is for as much as 20 centimetres near the summit, with lesser amounts to 300 metres for most of Saturday and into Sunday morning.

The Haast Pass may also be hit with up to five centimetres of snow, forecast to settle on State Highway 6 linking Central Otago to the West Coast, with the same amount forecast for the highway into Milford Sound.

The New Zealand Transport Agency is advising road users on these routes "to be prepared for snow, to drive to the conditions and check the NZTA traffic and travel maps and MetService updates ahead of setting off".

It says the worst of the front is expected to impact on roads over the Canterbury alpine passes, but warns the Queenstown Lakes District is expected to be "chilly" too.

"The Crown Range Road linking Wānaka and Queenstown may also get snow flurries late afternoon but little is expected to settle on the road at this stage," it says.

MetService has heavy snow watches in place for the Southern Lakes and Central Otago north of Alexandra, as well as the Canterbury High Country south of the Rangitata River.

In the Southern Lakes, "Heavy snowfall is possible above 600 metres where amounts may approach, or even exceed, warning criteria".

The warning kicks in at 6am Saturday and lasts for 24 hours as of Friday.

NZTA's tips for driving in icy or light snow conditions:

  • Drive slower than normal
  • Slow ahead of bridge decks and shaded parts of the highway where it can be slippery with black ice a possibility
  • Avoid sudden braking or turning movements that can cause you to skid
  • Gritted roads will help give traction but also require a slower speed
  • Use your highest gear when travelling uphill and your lowest downhill
  • Double the two second following rule at least – it takes longer to stop on ice
  • If it is foggy, drive with your lights dipped
  • Plan your trip to avoid the coldest times of the day or night if you can

Main image (MetService)


Advertise with Crux Advertise with Crux