25 May 2015

Power back on in Otago

6:45 pm on 25 May 2015

Power is back on for more than 3000 households throughout Otago from after it was cut during wild weather last night.

Dunedin suburbs of Broad Bay, Musselburgh, and the Otago Peninsula lost power, but the lines company Delta said electricity has been restored to all but 140 consumers.

Power was also out for a number of households in the Queenstown-Lakes District, but Aurora Energy said there are only twenty houses without power this evening.

The company said power would be restored as soon as it was safe to do so in the conditions.

If you want to share pictures or video of today's wintry weather please email to: iwitness@radionz.co.nz

Roads reopen

Most of the roads that were closed have now reopened, except State Highway 87 between Keyburn to Outram which remained closed, and the NZTA recommended people carry chains on State Highway 94.

Crews had been working to clear roads in the lower South Island after heavy snow and icy weather closed highways and caused treacherous driving conditions.

Snow fell in Southland, central and eastern Otago, and parts of Canterbury, with 15 to 25 centimetres recorded in coastal Otago near Dunedin, and up to 10 centimetres in the Queenstown area.

Mid-morning in Arrowtown. 25 May2015

Mid-morning in Arrowtown. Photo: SUPPLIED

The overnight snow closed some roads in Dunedin's hill suburbs and State Highway 1 from Pine Hill to Waitati north of Dunedin.

Stuart Street, Dunedin on 25 May.

Stewart Street, Dunedin, this morning Photo: RNZ / Darryl Baser

Gale-force winds brought down trees around greater Dunedin, keeping emergency services busy in the early hours. Bus services were postponed until roads could be cleared and many in the hill suburbs will stop early.

In Canterbury, the main road between Christchurch and Akaroa on Banks Peninsula reopened after being closed for much of the morning.

Snow on Queenstown's roads this morning.

A Queenstown road this morning. Photo: RNZ / Supplied

Queenstown Lakes District Council contractors had been out since 4.30am working to clear routes forced to close because of heavy snow.

Chris Diack who drove in to his work at Radio Cromwell this morning told Morning Report the roads were treacherous and he would he would advise anyone thinking of driving to stay at home.

Passengers at Queenstown Airport can expect delays and cancellations but the airport was staying open, its chief executive said.

North Island

The icy weather was sweeping the lower North Island causing road closures and disruption to ferry travel.

Strong winds and big swells caused the cancellation of some Cook Strait ferries.

Sailings of the Interisland ferry have resumed after some sailings were cancelled this morning due to rough weather in Cook Strait.

However, the afternoon passenger sailing on the Bluebridge ferry has been cancelled but it was still taking freight and trucks over from Wellington to Picton.

Bluebridge said it planned they plan to resume regular passenger services tomorrow morning.

Snow and ice closed the Rimutaka Hill Road between Wellington and Wairarapa overnight. It reopened early this morning but motorists were warned to take extra care.

Snow fell in Manawatu, Wairarapa and Hawkes Bay this morning, leaving Napier and Masterton with a dusting of snow down to sea level.

Metservice says the wintery weather is clearing up, but there is a wind watch in place for Wairarapa, Western Bay of Plenty, Coromandel and Auckland.

A white Wanaka garden.

A white Wanaka garden. Photo: SUPPLIED

Weather bodes well for ski season

A Queenstown ski field manager said heavy snowfalls in the South Island today was good news for this years' ski season.

Coronet Peak ski area's manager Ross Copland said after three very light years for snowfall, it was good to have a decent drop early in the year.

He said it looked as though the good snowfall would continue through the season.

"We're looking at an El Nino weather pattern which should bring us humid or sort of wet southerly systems coming out from the Southern Ocean, so we're hoping that's a good sign and we're hoping that it will bring more of the same."

Get the RNZ app

for ad-free news and current affairs