13 Aug 2011

Blizzard-like conditions to hit south on Sunday

11:09 pm on 13 August 2011

MetService is predicting widespread snow and blizzard-like conditions in some parts of the country on Sunday that is likely to close roads and bring down powerlines.

The forecaster says an extremely cold southerly will bring snow to the lower South Island later on Sunday, spreading to the lower North Island later.

Snowfalls are likely be very heavy in Fiordland south of Te Anau, in Southland and in parts of Otago, including Dunedin.

MetService forecaster Hordur Thordarson says snow flurries may also set in over the high country in Canterbury and Banks Peninsula on Sunday afternoon.

Strong southerly winds along with the cold temperatures will create blizzard-like conditions in some places, MetService warns.

Road closures expected

The Transport Agency says the snow is likely cause major disruption to traffic and make driving conditions difficult.

Drivers are urged to take care in areas affected by snow and to keep off the road if at all possible.

The agency says contractors will be working around the clock to clear snow, but it is inevitable some roads will be closed.

Civil Defence in Southland is advising farmers that stock will need shelter and extra feed may be required, especially as lambing is already under way in some areas.

A spokesperson for Emergency Management Southland, Gary Tong, says road closures could prevent some food delivery, so families should ensure they have all essential supplies.

The snow is expected to continue on Monday and Tuesday, MetService says.