10 May 2009

Caution urged as snow falls on South Island roads

10:40 am on 10 May 2009

A spell of snow and sleet has prompted warnings to motorists using South Island highways.

Chains are essential on Arthurs Pass and Lindis Pass, while motorists travelling on State Highway 94 from Te Anau to Milford Sound are also urged to carry chains. The passes are closed to towing vehicles.

MetService severe weather warnings are in place for southern Fiordland, Southland, South Otago and Dunedin. Forecasters are expecting up to 15cm of snow at levels of 300 metres on Sunday.

For the North Island, MetService predicts up to 5cm of snow could accumulate on Sunday on the higher parts of the Desert Road in the central North Island.

The cold spell over much of the country is due to last until Tuesday, MetService spokesperson Bob McDavitt says.