26 May 2015

Cold weather to linger in South Island

12:23 pm on 26 May 2015

Snow may have eased around the South Island but the cold, frosty weather is likely to linger.

A cold south-west front brought snow to parts of New Zealand yesterday, particularly Otago and Southland, closing sections of state highways and smaller local roads.

"In the coming days showers will ease off, but it will get very cold and frosty," said John Law, a MetService meteorologist.

Mid-morning in Arrowtown. 25 May2015

Mid-morning in Arrowtown. Photo: SUPPLIED

"As the high pressure builds we'll still find a few showers for Southland and Otago in towards Wednesday, but by Thursday, they should start to peter out, and most spots should stay dry, but those cold, clear skies at night, will mean we get some wide spread frosts, and some pretty chilly temperatures going into Thursday morning," Mr Law said.

While it might be a relief for some people that the snow has subsided, Remarkables ski area manager, Ross Lawrence, could not be happier, as the ski-field has had more than 70 centimetres of snow in the last few days.

"It was a quite a change to the landscape, coming up to work yesterday morning. We're still digging out, we've got the road nearly complete, the groomers are still out packing snow, it's certainly a great way to start winter," he said.

Despite road closures and restrictions on State Highways and local roads in Dunedin and the Queenstown Lakes District, most weather-related problems have been resolved.

Otago snow

Snow in Otago yesterday. Photo: RNZ

"The snow's melted from all the roads, there are some patches of ice, which our contractors are gritting. The only road that's really changed its status today is the Crown Range Road, which was closed all day yesterday. It's now open to vehicles with chains. This is just normal winter for us now," said Queenstown Lakes District Council spokesperson, Michelle Poole.

In Dunedin, roads are now back to normal, despite some snow about the hill suburbs, the roads are not affected, though the city's council is bracing for a cold winter, said Dunedin City Council roading maintenance engineer, Peter Standring.

"The forecast is that we're to have a reasonable amount of this in the coming year. We've had a couple of mild winters the last two seasons, this is going to get back to the winters of old, so we'll brace ourselves for that." said Mr Standring.