South Island and Wellington battered by wintry weather

Many parts of the country were hit with heavy rain and wintry weather this morning, with major highways closed across the South Island and a front moving east across the motu.

Heavy rain hit the upper parts of the South Island and Wellington, and snow closed some South Island highways.
Photo: 123rf

Wellington and Marlborough were the hardest hit, with people being warned to be very careful.

Marlborough District Council engineer Stephen Rooney said Blenheim’s sewage system was overflowing in several places and people should treat all flood water as contaminated.

Council and Waka Kotahi contractors are also busy cleaning up flood waters and slips in the area.

The damage includes several slides on State Highway 1 between Blenheim and Picton.

MetService meteorologist Dan Corrigan said Marlborough had the most rainfall so far.

“Places around Marlborough saw between 90 and 100mm of rain, particularly around the Rai Valley, Wairau Valley and in the Richmond Range, [places] around there has been the heaviest rainfall for our observing network in the last 24 hours.”

Snow, slides and flooding closed major roads in the Southern Islands

People traveling on South Island routes have been advised to take extra care and be prepared for delays.

Flooding and slides forced the closure of State Highway 1 through Seddon on Saturday night, and it remained closed through Sunday.

Arthur and Lindis passes (SH6 and SH7) were closed due to snow, but both have reopened.

Heavy snow was also expected to accumulate on Porter’s Pass (SH73).

A heavy snowfall warning was in place for inland Marlborough and northern parts of the Canterbury High Country, Corrigan said.

“We expect pockets of snow up to 200 or even 100m in these places”.

Snow had already fallen to low levels in places.

“We’ve had reports of snow in Methven, which is between 300m and 350m above mean sea level,” he said.

Canterbury’s keen skiers have to wait to hit the slopes today.

Heavy snowfall closed State Highway 73 through Arthurs Pass, cutting off access to at least three ski areas.

Cheeseman Ski Resort is one of those affected, and safety officer Carter Spencer said the mountain was dusted well.

“We had 40 centimeters of new snow overnight, pretty nice dry snow and yes we did avalanche mitigation and tried to open this place up to the public, the boys are on the road cleaning up the stuff, all the snow all the way to the bottom of the valley about the highway, so yeah, a big job ahead of us.”

Spencer said we hope the field can open this afternoon.

Other fields chose to close and reopen tomorrow, including Mount Olympus and Mount Lyford.

A large boulder that fell on the road in Barrytown on the West Coast on Saturday blocked off an area of ​​State Highway 6 but has now been cleared.

A large piece of the cliff wall that fell on SH6.

Photo: Supplied / New Zealand Police

Wet and windy weekend weather for the North Island

Waka Kotahi warned there was flooding and slips on some roads in Wellington.

A slip on Volga Street in the Wellington suburb of Island Bay.

A slip on Volga Street in the Wellington suburb of Island Bay.
Photo: RNZ / Craig Stephen

In the central North Island, MetService has issued a desert road snowfall warning until 9pm tonight.

He said snow showers were likely in the area this afternoon and evening, with up to 1cm of snow expected to accumulate at times above 800m.

A high pressure system moving across the country is expected to bring warmer weather later this week.