As it happened: Cold blast moves north

The cold front moving across the South Island is set to sweep north over central New Zealand, bringing snow, heavy rain and gales to the lower and central North Island. It's likely to cause widespread transport problems.

Check back for regular updates.

What you need to know

  • Snow and ice have forced road closures across the South Island. Check for closures before you travel this morning.
  • Police are calling on motorists to slow down and take care.
  • Things won't improve until Friday, according to NIWA.
  • Significant waves could reach up to 10m or 11m in the Cook Strait.

4.40pm - Don't go sightseeing, "stay at home and keep warm" - authorities

Authorities are asking motorists around the South Island not to go sightseeing.

Despite the magical scenery provided by the snow, many roads are still in a treacherous condition and some roads remain closed.

Warnings are in place for more snowfall which is expected to lead to further road closures on Thursday.

Warnings are in place for:

  • Arthurs Pass
  • Lewis Pass
  • Porters Pass
  • Lindis Pass
  • Milford Road
  • State Highway 1 between Dunedin and Waitati

4.10pm - NZTA urges motorists to be careful

NZTA has issued a warning to motorists in the South Island to check road conditions before heading out especially with more snow forecast over the coming days.

State Highway 93 between Mataura and Clinton in Southland and State Highway 73 on Porters Pass in Canterbury remain closed due to snow and ice.

3.35pm - Low overnight temperatures across the country

Cold temperatures are expected to keep things very chilly right across Aotearoa on Tuesday night.

North Island:

  • Wellington 5degC
  • Masterton 2degC
  • Napier 2degC
  • New Plymouth 3degC
  • Tokoroa -2degC
  • Te Kuiti 2degC
  • Taupo 1degC
  • Rotorua 0degC
  • Tauranga 2degC
  • Hamilton 1degC
  • Auckland 5degC

South Island:

  • Invercargill 2degC
  • Dunedin 4degC
  • Gore 1degC
  • Alexandra -2degC
  • Queenstown -2degC
  • Wanaka -2degC
  • Oamaru 3degC
  • Timaru 1degC
  • Ashburton 1degC
  • Christchurch 1degC
  • Mt Cook -4degC
  • Hokitika 1degC
  • Greymouth 1degC
  • Kaikoura 1degC
  • Blenheim 1degC
  • Nelson 0degC

2.30pm - Road closure update

The following roads remain closed due to snow and ice:

  • State Highway 93 between Mataura to Clinton
  • State Highway 87 between Kyeburn and Outram
  • State Highway 87 between Kyeburn and Palmerston
  • State Highway 85 between Becks and Kyeburn
  • State Highway 73 between Springfield and Arthurs Pass
  • State Highway 70 between Peketa and Waiau

2.15pm - Wintery blast hits North Island

The winter white-out is making its way up the country with Taupo receiving a heavy hail shower on Wednesday afternoon.

1.35pm - Mt Ruapehu - Turoa closed 

12.25pm - Dog squad out on Rimutaka Hill

Wellington Police and some canine detectives were out on the Rimutakas on Wednesday making sure everyone kept safe on the roads. 

11.45 - Birds-eye view of Dunedin

Some flights in to Dunedin were diverted after snow  forced the airport to close for a time.

Kelvin Cummings was on a flight destined for Dunedin before it had to be diverted to Christchurch after the runway iced over.

Snow, Dunedin
Snow covered the top of hills near Dunedin. Photo credit: Kelvin Cummings

11.25 - Snow showers cause disruptions to airports

Flights in and out of airports around the South Island have been affected by regular sleety showers.

Queenstown Airport has closed for a short time to inspect runway conditions.

11.17am - Central Canterbury white-out

Snow, Tekapo
Tekapo has been blanketed by snow. Photo credit: Annabelle Tukia/ Newshub
Snow, Canterbury
Tekapo township under snow. Photo credit: Annabelle Tukia/ Newshub

11.00am - Snow showers hammer Christchurch

It has been a four-seasons-in-one-day kind of morning in the Garden City with periodic snow and sleet showers.

Christchurch, Snow
Snow and sleet showers have been on and off on Wednesday morning. Photo credit: Newshub

10.40am - NZTA warns motorist to avoid travel if possible

“If you are able to, postpone your journey,” says Lee Wright, Transport Agency Journey Manager.

“In many places snow is lying on top of ice making driving extremely dangerous.”

Crashes have been reported across the island as a result of snow and ice.

10.10am - Truckies stranded in Canterbury

As many as 60 vehicles have been left stuck around the South Island after snow forced roads to closed.

Paul Kitto has been stuck outside Culverden since 1am.

Snow, Canterbury
A grader tows a truck out of a ditch. Photo credit: Annabelle Tukia/ Newshub

"I went to bed in the truck, it's got a sleeper and all the gear in the truck so just tucked up in bed nice and warm," he says.

"The biggest thing is getting to the ferries [in time]"

Snow, Road closures
As many as 60 vehicles have been halted in their tracks. Photo credit: Newshub

10.07am - Road closure update

State Highway 8 between Alexandra and Raes Junction has also been closed.

9.40am - Road closure update

The following roads and passes are closed:

  • State Highway 1 between Waitati and Pine Hill
  • State Highway 6 Haast to Hawea
  • State Highway 73 Springfield to Arthurs Pass (Porters Pass)
  • State Highway 85 Kyeburn to Palmerston
  • State Highway 85 Becks to Wedderburn
  • State Highway 85 Becks to Kyeburn
  • State Highway 93 Mataura to Clinton
Tekapo, Snow
A 4WD cautiously makes its way towards Tekapo. Photo credit: Annabelle Tukia/ Newshub

9.27am - Current temperatures around the South Island

  • Invercargill 2degC
  • Dunedin 2.1degC
  • Queenstown 0.3degC
  • Wanaka 0.7degC
  • Oamaru 1.8degC
  • Timaru 3.5degC
  • Ashburton 2degC
  • Christchurch 0.9degC
  • Mt Cook -2degC

9.19am - America's Cup parade still on in Christchurch!

Despite the wintery wild weather overnight, Christchurch will still get its chance to see the Auld Mug in person.

The America's Cup parade is set to start at midday and travel through the CBD.

Authorities are warning fans to wrap up with plenty of layers to keep warm.

9.08am - Dunedin motorists caught out by snow

Police has asked motorists to drive to the conditions in Dunedin and to avoid any unnecessary travel.

There have been a number of crashes in the city due to the weather and many cars have been abandoned in the hilly areas after getting stuck.

Dunedin, Snow
Snow has blanketed Dunedin roads. Photo credit: Paul Le Comte/ Twitter

8.45am - Lake Tekapo stunning in snow

Newshub reporter Annabella Tukia is at Lake Tekapo, where it's looking even more stunning than usual.

She captured a truck full of supplied making its careful way along the icy road.

Anna BW over and out. Caley Callahan will be taking over live updates from Christchurch.

A truck makes its welcome way to Lake Tekapo.
A truck makes its welcome way to Lake Tekapo. Photo credit: Annabelle Tukia/Newshub.
Lake Tekapo on Wednesday morning.
Lake Tekapo on Wednesday morning. Photo credit: Annabelle Tukia/Newshub.

8.22am - Snow, snow, snow!

It's just stopped snowing in Hamner, but it's set a lovely scene. Paul Dwight captured quite the scene in this cul de sac this morning. You can follow him on Twitter: @Deepsouthster.

Snow in Hamner.
Snow in Hamner. Photo credit: Paul Dwight/Supplied

8.13am - Queenstown flights cancelled, delays in Wellington

Queenstown airport staff are working to clear ice and snow from the runway, but delays are expected, with some flights cancelled. If you're planning to fly today, you'll definitely want to check your flight status on airport websites. Check Queenstown flights here.

A number of flights are delayed in Wellington. At least one flight is cancelled. Check flights here.

8.04am - Snow in Christchurch's Port Hills

Dyer's Pass in Christchurch's Port Hills is closed off. 

Newshub's Thomas Mead is out and about reporting on the South Island's snow today, and sent in these photos of a man waiting in the cold for the bus and a very dedicated dog owner taking her pet for a brisk morning stroll.

Look at this person! Amazing.
Look at this person! Amazing. Photo credit: Thomas Mead/Newshub.
A man waits for the bus, Port Hills, Christchurch.
A man waits for the bus, Port Hills, Christchurch. Photo credit: Thomas Mead/Newshub.
Dyers Pass Rd is very much closed.
Dyers Pass Rd is very much closed. Photo credit: Thomas Mead/Newshub.

8.02am - who will get hail?

Showers and possibly hail are expected in the lower South Island, and that southerly will be cold. Sorry. At least many of you get snow.

It's just 4 degrees in Queenstown; 6 in Dunedin.

7.49am - snow for Frankton!

Check this out - Robbie Lawrence has captured a light dusting of snow falling in Frankton this morning.  Looks magical.

7.40am - If it's not snow, it's rain or serious wind

How's this for a weather update in 140 characters? 

Metservice tweeted that those in the north can expect rain, there will be snow on the Desert Rd and 100km/hr gusts of wind for Wellington. Brr.

7.30am - Desert Rd detour in place

A crane is going to the brought in to remove a truck and trailer that rolled overnight on the Desert Road near Waihohonu Bridge.

A detour taking motorists west of Tongariro National is in place. 

The accident occurred at 1.30am and the driver was not injured.

Motorists should schedule an additional 40 minutes to their journey to account for the detour.
Motorists should schedule an additional 40 minutes to their journey to account for the detour. Photo credit: NZTA

7.15am - warnings of major delays for Ngauranga Gorge

The clean-up continues in Wellington after a slip closed Ngauranga Gorge overnight. Two south-bound lanes have been opened, but the left lane and footpath remain closed. NZTA warns congestion is "back to Tawa" and motorists can expect "major delays." They suggest alternative travel if possible.

7.08am - snow on the streets of Dunedin

These photos taken by NIWA show the sight the people of Dunedin will be waking up to - snow! Snow on the streets! 

NIWA's Chris Brandalino will be on The AM Show at 7.10am with the latest on the wintry storm.

Snow on the streets of Dunedin.
Snow on the streets of Dunedin. Photo credit: NIWA
A light dusting in Dunedin.
A light dusting in Dunedin. Photo credit: NIWA

7.02am -  a warning for Wellington

NIWA's Chris Brandolino says the weather is steady for now, but wind and rain could be quite bad in Wellington, even by local standards!

6.55am - beautiful photos of a very cold night

Luke Hamilton has sent in some lovely photos of the snow in Canterbury. 

Send any photos in to:

On the road east of Darfield.
On the road east of Darfield. Photo credit: Luke Hamilton/Supplied

6.40am - bitterly cold night for much of New Zealand

Heavy snow has fallen across Canterbury and Central Otago, and further snow showers are forecast down to 100 metres with extended falls in the Kaikōura Ranges.

The icy conditions are causing headaches for motorists, closing a number of roads. Arthurs Pass, Lewis Pass, Lindis Pass and Haast Pass are all closed. Roads around Otago and Southland are also closed or inaccessible.

Meteorologist Mark Todd says heavy snow, rain and sleet is likely to cause further carnage.

Meanwhile, the clean-up is continuing after heavy rain caused a massive slip near Wellington.

Road closures

  • Arthurs Pass, Lewis Pass, Lindis Pass and Haast Pass all closed.
  • Two southbound lanes have reopened after yesterday's slip that closed State Highway 1 into Wellington at the top of Ngauranga Gorge.  All three north-bound lanes of the State Highway re-opened last night, while work continued overnight to clear the southbound lanes.
  • The Desert Rd (State Highway 1) is blocked between Rangipo and Waiouru following a crash overnight and is expected to remain closed for several hours.