Last blast of wintry weather in headlights


People who drive into Dunedin over the Leith Saddle should be aware there are road snowfall warnings down to sea level for Thursday evening into Friday this week.

Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency says people need to drive prepared overnight Thursday and Friday morning in a few places around the South Island/ Te Waipounamu, given the late blast of snow forecast by MetService.

“Please check the latest MetService forecasts if you are driving in any alpine areas, heading into Dunedin from the north or into the Milford Sound or Fiordland early Friday,” says Waka Kotahi Journey Manager Nicole Felts.

MetService warnings(external link)

There is a heavy snow watch in place for Fiordland from Thursday late afternoon to early Friday and also for Southland, Clutha, Dunedin, Central Otago and the Southern Lakes.

  • Snow is expected to near sea level in these places and heavy snowfall is possible above 300 metres.

Road snowfall

Road snowfall warnings are in place from late Thursday into Friday on the Lewis Pass (SH7 – Canterbury/West Coast), Arthur’s Pass (SH73), Haast Pass (SH6), the Lindis Pass (SH8, between Cromwell and Omarama), the Crown Range Road between Queenstown and Wanaka, the Milford Road (SH94) and the Dunedin to Waitati Highway (SH1).

  • The MetService notes that for SH1 north of Dunedin, another burst of snow is possible later on Friday.

“Our highway contractors will be ready for this snow, but drivers need to be prepared also,” says Miss Felts. “Check the Waka Kotahi traffic and travel page for any closures and build in extra time if your route might be getting a dusting of snow.

“The highway temperatures are warming up this time of the year, which will help melt the snow quickly, but a heavier fall can still accumulate and disrupt travel.”

State highway conditions(external link)