29 Sep 2023

Snow warnings, ferries cancelled as storms continue

10:23 pm on 29 September 2023
Aratere Interislander Ferry leaving Wellington.

The second half of September has brought widespread rough weather and travel cancellations. Photo: RNZ / Rebekah Parsons-King

Snow warnings have been issued for roads, winds could reach gale force for much of the country and some Cook Strait ferries have been cancelled for a second time this week.

It comes as weekend bookings were expected to be jammed packed after storms, high winds and seas forced cancellations earlier this week.

MetService have issued road snowfall warnings for the Desert Road (SH1) in the central North Island, and in the South Island for Porters Pass (SH73) and Milford Road (SH94).

On the Desert Road, up to 4cm could settle near the summit, with lighter flurries down to 800m, between 5am and midday on Saturday forecasters said.

Auckland, Northland and the Coromandel Peninsula were warned strong westerly winds could approach severe gales in exposed places on Saturday, from the early morning until late.

While a strong wind watch for Tararua District, and parts of Hawke's Bay was expected to be lifted about 6am on Saturday, and about midnight on Friday, for the ranges of Marlborough and some parts of Canterbury.

Ferry sailings cancelled, adding to earlier travel woes

A Heavy Swell Warning was issued for Wellington's south coast and the southern and eastern coastlines of South Wairarapa, from midday to midnight on Saturday.

Waves are expected to reach up to 5m by late Saturday afternoon but should ease to 3 to 4m overnight into Sunday.

Interislander said the southerly gales and heavy seas forecast would mean changes to its timetable.

"The Saturday 8.45am Kaitaki sailing from Wellington and the 2.15pm Kaitaki return from Picton have been cancelled," said Interislander general manager of operations Duncan Roy.

"At this stage we expect the Aratere to continue to sail on a revised timetable and the Kaiarahi to sail on Sunday," Roy said.

Meanwhile Bluebridge said they were monitoring the weather.

They said conditions were causing delays, but by Friday afternoon they had no cancellations.

On Friday night Waka Kotahi warned motorists to take extra caution due to high winds on the Remutaka Hill (SH2), between the Hutt Valley and Wairarapa, with high-sided vehicles or motorbikes particularly at risk.

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