The NZ Transport Agency is warning drivers to plan ahead for travel as freezing temperatures and snow is forecast for some parts of Wellington region and the Central North Island.
MetService has forecast snow in the Wellington region and beyond from lunchtime tomorrow (Tuesday) until Friday lunchtime, which is likely to make driving conditions hazardous.
There is also heavy rain forecast for parts of Taranaki, Wanganui and Manawatu, which could lead to flooding and slips.
Temperatures are forecast to plunge to below zero degrees tomorrow during the evening peak and snow is expected to fall on the Rimutaka Hill Road down to low levels through to Thursday.
On Wednesday and Thursday morning drivers should look out for black ice on sheltered inland roads. This could affect SH2 Rimutaka Hill Road, SH58 and Paekakariki Hill Road.
If the snow and ice arrives as forecast then it could also make roads slippery in Wellington’s higher suburbs like Karori, Broadmeadows and high up parts of Newlands.
Wellington Transport Operations Centre Director Mike Seabourne warned that the weather could bring treacherous driving and cycling conditions.
“The freezing weather will descend on us as we make our way home tomorrow afternoon and could hang around until Friday lunchtime so we urge people to take extra care, watch their speeds and stopping distances and be really careful taking corners. Early rising commuters also need to be vigilant on the roads for ice and snow this week.”
“If you usually drive over the Rimutaka Hill Road to work then consider working from home or taking the train. Cyclists and motorcyclists coming over the Rimutaka Hill Road should also consider taking the train as the road will be slippery and hazardous,” he said.
Contractors will be on standby on the Rimutaka Hill Road ready to clear any snow and we will aim to open the road intermittently to let vehicles through. However, if the road isn’t safe then it will remain closed.
Central North Island
Snow is forecast for the Central North Island this week and this could lead to hazardous driving conditions on the Desert Road and Napier Taupo Road.
There is also heavy rain expected for Manawatu, Wanganui and parts of Taranaki from later today and will become heavier on Tuesday morning.
The downpours are likely to coincide with rush hour this afternoon, potentially resulting in hazardous driving conditions as commuters leave work.
Heavy rain can make roads slippery so allow extra distance to stop and drive to the conditions.
“Be aware that traffic often slows down in wet weather so be patient and allow extra time to get to your destination. Heavy rain can also cause rivers and streams to rise rapidly and slips are possible in vulnerable areas. Consider whether you’re prepared for driving in this wet weather and whether you could change your plans,” said Wellington Transport Operations Centre Director Mike Seabourne.
Cyclists and those travelling on two wheels are particularly vulnerable in wet weather. Please allow extra room for cyclists who may have reduced visibility and may have to cycle around puddles.
The Wellington Transport Operations Centre team will be monitoring the weather and keeping a close eye on road conditions around Wellington and the Central North Island 24 hours a day.
For more information on transport and travel in the Wellington region visit www.tfw.govt.nz(external link), follow us on Twitter @NZTAWgtn or follow NZ Transport Agency - Wellington on Facebook. For more information on travel in the Central North Island visit us on Facebook at NZ Transport Agency – CNI or follow us on Twitter @NZTACNI. Or call 0800 4 HIGHWAYS.
For more information visit www.tfw.govt.nz(external link), @NZTAWgtn or follow NZ Transport Agency- Wellington on Facebook.