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Snow coming to South Island alpine highways this weekend – check before you head off


A southerly change with snow and heavy rain is expected to affect the highways across the lower and central South Island this weekend. People are asked to drive to the conditions and be well prepared.

Safe winter driving tips here(external link)

“People using the alpine passes in particular should check the NZ Transport Agency’s traffic and travel web pages before setting out,” says Tresca Forrester, Journey Manager for the Transport Agency.

“The inland road to Kaikōura via Waiau, Route 70, could also get some snow over the weekend. Thanks to everyone for taking care in these conditions and being prepared before setting off.”

MetService road snowfall warnings issued Friday morning 16 August, valid till 10 pm tonight:

Lewis Pass (SH7) between the Hanmer Springs turnoff and Springs Junction

A few snow showers are forecast to affect the road Saturday. Between 11am and 11pm, 2 to 4cm of snow may settle on the road above 400 metres. link)

Porters Pass (SH73) between Springfield and Arthur’s Pass

Snow showers are forecast to affect the road Saturday. Between 6am and midnight, expect 4 to 8cm of snow to settle on the road. Snow levels initially around 700 metres, but lowering to 400 metres late morning. link)

Lindis Pass (SH8) between Cromwell and Omarama

A few snow showers are expected to affect the road Saturday. Between 7am and 1pm,1 to 2cm of snow may settle on the road above 500 metres. link)

Crown Range Road between Queenstown and Wanaka

A few snow showers are expected to affect the road Saturday. Between 6am and 1pm,1 to 2cm of snow may settle on the road above 500 metres. link)
Webcam: link)

Milford Road to Te Anau, (SH94), Southland

The highway into Milford Sound is closed all day today due to increased avalanche risk from heavy rain and thunderstorms and with snow expected overnight tonight (Friday, 16 August). Crews will be aiming to reopen after snow clearing and avalanche assessments Saturday, likely mid-morning, but check the highway status first.

MetService forecast: A few snow showers may affect the road tonight (Friday). Between 10pm tonight and 1 am Saturday morning, 1 to 2cm of snow could settle on the road above 800 metres. Please note, a few light snow showers may continue through to about dawn, but little if any snow is expected to settle on the road.
• Highway status to be updated today at this link 2pm Friday, and Saturday at 7.30am and 10.30am - link)

Places to check before you leave:

• NZ Transport Agency South Island facebook page for updates: link)

• South Island map and closures here: link)

• Traffic travel pages NZTA for highway updates: link)

• Traffic cameras also give people an idea what to expect: link)

• MetService severe weather warnings: link)

• For regular emailed updates on South Island highway closures please email the Christchurch Transport Operations Centre to get on their weekday list.

Plan ahead for a safe, enjoyable journey. Keep up to date with: