Snow forcing road closures in South Island

Access to Tekapo has re-opened after snow closed State Highway 8 either side of the small Canterbury town on Thursday morning.

Snow and rain forced a number of road closures and warnings across the South Island.

Another splashing of wet winter weather has been forecast for much of the island heading into the weekend. 

A pocket of showers is making its way up Canterbury. Photo credit: MetService

Snow is also affecting parts of Lindis Pass on State Highway 8 between Tarras and Omarama where warnings are in place for motorists to carry chains.

Warnings advising motorists to take care and drive to the conditions are also in place for:

  • State Highway 8 between Twizel and Eversley
  • State Highway 8 from Twizel to Tekapo
  • State Highway 8 from Tekapo to Fairlie

Mt Hutt has also had a top-up of snow on Thursday with an estimated 5cm accumulating in the base area.

However due to the snowy conditions the access road up the mountain has been closed to uphill traffic for the rest of the day.

Authorities have also issued road snowfall warnings for the next 24 hours:

  • State Highway 7 Lewis Pass - expecting 5 to 10cm of snow to accumulate on higher parts of the road.
  • State Highway 73 Arthurs Pass - expecting 10 to 20cm of snow to accumulate about higher parts of the road and lesser amounts elsewhere.
  • State Highway 73 Porters Pass - expecting 15 to 25cm of snow to accumulate on the road and possibly more above 800 metres.
  • State Highway 8 Lindis Pass - expecting 3 to 5cm of snow may accumulate on higher parts of the road.
  • State Highway 94 Milford Road- Light snow showers are expected from late morning Thursday, mainly south of Lake Gunn.

MetService says heavy rain is expected to hammer Canterbury and Otago throughout Thursday with 20 to 40mm of rain forecast.

However they warn rainfall may exceed 50mm in some places.

Christchurch prepares for rain 

The Christchurch City Council (CCC) is prepared for potential flooding in the area from the incoming weather.

It says hill areas are still very wet after last week's storm and with king tides expected, it may cause some street flooding in low-lying areas.

"While we are anticipating rain and king tides, at this stage we do not expect a tidal surge. We are keeping in close contact with NIWA and MetService to get the best possible information to help us plan the most appropriate response," CCC manager Keith Davison said.

The CCC says if flooding does occur, then residents should continue to treat all flood water as contaminated - wash your hands thoroughly after being in contact with flood waters and mud/silt. Regular household bleaches can be used to clean surfaces.

And if you have to drive through water, take it carefully and slowly. Surges from cars into properties can cause damage and spread contaminated water.