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Warnings issued ahead of Snow Storm; “roads may close”

The school holidays will end on a wet, cold and snowy note as another significant low pressure system moves in from the Tasman Sea. says the forecast heavy snow means major roads may close and is advising holidaymakers returning home to prepare alternate routes.

Highways most at risk will be those around northern Canterbury and inland Marlborough, the Desert Road, the Napier-Taupo highway, the Napier-Taihape highway and possibly State Highway 2 over the Rimutaka Ranges.

10 severe weather warnings have been issued by government forecaster MetService ahead of the snow storm.

The warnings will be of concern to farmers still dealing with lambing.   The warnings are for northern Canterbury and Marlborough where heavy snow may fall as low as 200 metres, while in the North Island heavy snow may fall to 600 metres.  Surrounding regions may also be exposed to snow. 

Click here for the latest official weather warnings. head weather analyst Philip Duncan says the timing is terrible with school holidays coming to a close and families returning home.  “We’re advising motorists to be aware of the conditions before setting out as snow may close state highways in both islands during Friday and Saturday”.

The snow storm on Sunday in the North Island trapped several hundred motorists with the blizzard quickly taking travellers by surprise.

“At this stage the MetService warnings don’t seem as severe for the North Island but conditions will be very wet and at higher altitudes very snowy” says Mr Duncan. 

Strong southerly winds on Saturday may also create blizzard conditions on the Desert Road and suggests motorists have alternate routes in place in case of road closures.

A similar pattern to last Sunday is responsible for the upcoming weather with a large low pressure system crossing the North Island over the weekend while a cold southerly moves up the South Island.

Single digit highs are expected for most South Island main centres tomorrow.


Joy on 16/08/2011 6:06am

I will be travelling from Auckland to Taupo. and from Taupo to Wellington. Is there any raod closures?

bob on 9/10/2009 7:34pm

Leaving for napier in about an hour from Auckland, heading for Napier (really need to get there for work commitments tomorrow). We should reach the Napier-Taupo Rd about 1:00ish.

Do you think it’s likely to still be open then, or should we go down via Gisborne which would add an extra 2-3 hours. We will have teenagers and 2 puppies in the car with us, so the shorter the better 😉 but at the same time, we’d rather not have to be rescued by the army.

I realise you don’t have a crystal ball, but any advice you can give would be appreciated.

WW Forecast Team on 9/10/2009 9:47pm

As far as we’re aware all roads are open – check with the AA for current roading details but at this stage weather conditions are now starting to improve.  Enjoy the trip with the puppies and the teenagers!


Philip Duncan

Jo-Lea on 9/10/2009 4:42am

Hi, am travelling up to Napier tonight, and I wanted to know if there would be alot of snow so that we would be stranded went. We really need to get down there, but do not want to have to be stranded.


Reply ASAP!

WW Forecast Team on 9/10/2009 4:48am

At this stage it’s still very mild…we don’t anticipate snow closing the road before midnight.  However, in saying that, we urge all motorists to check with the AA before leaving and keep up with the latest weather forecasts and news stories on NewstalkZB.  


EDIT:  Also worth pointing out that doesn’t expect a repeat of last Sunday’s snow storm.  This one will be quicker and should dump less snow on the summit.  It’s quite possible the road wont even close but definitely worth knowing all the facts before jumping in your car.

debbieo on 9/10/2009 12:02am

what time is snow expected on the Napier Taupo road? we are leaving Auckland shortly for Napier and would expect to be on this road between 5-6.30pm tonight

WW Forecast Team on 9/10/2009 1:26am

It’s very hard to say as it can be quite borderline as to when it will start but at this stage we’re expecting the road to be open this evening as the air is still very warm around the central North Island as a warm front has just passed over – snow is likely very late tonight or more likely in the early hours of Saturday morning at this stage.

In saying that, we suggest all motorists travelling across the central North Island from 5pm to check road conditions with the AA before leaving and the latest weather and news reports on NewstalkZB.



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