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'Snowmageddon': Lindis Pass reopened, avalanche assessment on Crown Range

Author
NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Tue, 14 Jun 2022, 1:30pm

'Snowmageddon': Lindis Pass reopened, avalanche assessment on Crown Range

Author
NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Tue, 14 Jun 2022, 1:30pm

The Lindis Pass is now open as work to clear 1.5 metres of snow has been completed.

A number of alpine passes in the South Island were closed after a dump of heavy snow over the weekend.

The road reopened this morning but motorists are advised to use caution due to Ice.

The Lindis Pass (SH8) was one of the worst affected and had been closed since Sunday morning.

Meanwhile, Metservice is warning of a surge of heavy southwest swells on the southern and eastern coasts in the next of couple days with waves as high as eight metres expected.

Roads still closed

The Crown Range Rd was still closed due to avalanche activity at 11.30am.

The Crown Range Rd after heavy snowfall over the weekend. Photo / Supplied

The Crown Range Rd after heavy snowfall over the weekend. Photo / Supplied

"Following what can only be described as 'snowmageddon' Crown Range Road will remain closed between the Eastburn Gates and Cardrona.

"The assessment will help us understand what works are required to make sure all drivers using the alpine pass and our crews up there working are doing so in as-safe-as-possible conditions," a spokesperson for the Queenstown Lakes District Council said.

The council is working to organise avalanche experts and hope to undertake the assessment at 9am this morning.

The Upper Buller Gorge was still closed due to a slip at 11.30am with an update expected at 1pm.

Caution urged on highways

Motorists are being warned to use caution on a number of highways in the South Island this morning.

  • SH65 Maruia to Shenandoah - surface flooding with a 50km/h in place.
  • SH1 Waimate Junction (SH82) to Oamaru - down to 70km/h due to slippery surface.
  • SH7 Hanmer turnoff to Springs Junction - strong winds. Care is required by caravans and high-sided vehicles, motorbikes.
  • SH8 Tekapo to Twizel - snow and ice conditions.
  • SH8 Burkes Pass Village to Tekapo
  • SH80 Aoraki Mount Cook Highway - snow and ice conditions.
  • SH6 Hokitika to Fox Glacier - strong winds. Care is required by caravans and high-sided vehicles, motorbikes.
  • SH6 Westport to Greymouth - flooding.
  • SH65 Maruia to Springs Junction - flooding.
  • SH67 Granity to Mokihinui - flooding.
  • SH1 Dunedin to Glanavy - strong winds. Care is required by caravans and high-sided vehicles, motorbikes.
  • SH6 Cromwell to Kingston - ice and grit.
  • SH6A Frankton to Queenstown - ice and grit.
  • SH8 Raes Junction to Milton - strong winds. Care is required by caravans and high-sided vehicles, motorbikes.
  • SH8 Alexandra to Cromwell - ice and grit.
  • SH8 Tarras to Omarama - ice and grit.
  • SH8 Twizel to Omarama - snow and ice conditions.
  • SH83 Omarama to Otematata - snow.
  • SH85 Kyeburn to Palmerston - strong winds. Care is required by caravans and high-sided vehicles, motorbikes.
  • SH85 Alexandra to Kyeburn - ice and grit
  • SH87 Outram to Kyeburn - strong winds. Care is required by caravans and high-sided vehicles, motorbikes.
  • SH90 Raes Junction to McNab - strong winds. Care is required by caravans and high-sided vehicles, motorbikes.
  • SH96 Mataura, between Terrace Rd and SH1 - slip repair works until Wednesday, 30km/h temporary speed.

Weather warnings in south

An orange strong wind warning is in place for coastal parts of southern Fiordland and Southland including Stewart Island until 6am on Wednesday.

A mammoth effort is under way to clear the Lindis Pass of more than a metre of snow. Photo / George Heard

A mammoth effort is under way to clear the Lindis Pass of more than a metre of snow. Photo / George Heard

Strong wind watches are in place for coastal Dunedin and Clutha.

Snowfall warnings remain in place for a number of roads in the South Island with many being lifted later today.

The Crown Range Rd after heavy snowfall over the weekend. Photo / Supplied

The Crown Range Rd after heavy snowfall over the weekend. Photo / Supplied

The warnings cover the Lewis Pass (SH7) until 8am, Arthur's Pass (SH73) until 11am, Crown Range Rd until 6pm and the Milford Rd (SH94) until 9am on Wednesday

An NZME photojournalist at the Lindis Pass on Monday said 1.5 metres of snow had fallen on the summit over the last few days.

Contractors are doing everything they can to get the road open, they said.

Crews are working on both sides using graders and tractors to clear the large amount of snow to allow the road to open.

On Monday afternoon, residents in parts of Northern Buller were being encouraged to evacuate as severe weather, including flooding and strong sea surges, continued to lash the area.

Flooding in Buller on the West Coast on Monday. Photo / Supplied

Flooding in Buller on the West Coast on Monday. Photo / Supplied

Mayor Jamie Cleine said emergency operations staff had been out meeting with residents in Ngakawau, Granity, Hector and Mokihinui.

Cleine said staff had gone into these rural areas and encouraged residents to stay the night with friends and family on higher ground.

It comes after snow blanketed parts of Central Otago on Sunday, bringing joy to the region's ski fields, with Cardrona ski field opening early and other southern mountains set to follow suit in the coming days.

The wild winter weather created chaos across parts of Otago and Southland during the weekend, and forecasters are urging southerners to brace themselves for more of the same over the next few days.

Heavy rain, snow showers and winds gusting up to 100km/h kept emergency services busy in Dunedin with small landslips in Caversham; heavy flooding in Marne St, Andersons Bay; fencing and a fallen tree over roads; and ice on the Northern Motorway.

Wanaka residents woke up to a major dump of snow on Sunday morning. Photo / George Heard

Wanaka residents woke up to a major dump of snow on Sunday morning. Photo / George Heard

A police spokeswoman said it was a similar scene in Central Otago and the Lakes area.

Heavy rainfall yesterday caused flooding on State Highway 6 between Luggate and Cromwell as well as at the intersection of Frankton and Perkins Rds, in Queenstown.

Police were also alerted to several weather-related incidents across the region as cars struggled in slippery conditions, including a car which slid backwards on ice down Weaver St, Queenstown, about 3pm yesterday.

Glenorchy residents woke up to a major dumping of snow on Sunday morning. Photo / George Heard

Glenorchy residents woke up to a major dumping of snow on Sunday morning. Photo / George Heard

MetService meteorologist Stephen Glassey said temperatures dropped below zero for much of the region, including Dunedin Airport where it dropped to -4.4degC yesterday morning.

He said snowfall was heaviest in the Lakes area and the Milford Rd where about 70cm fell at the Homer Tunnel; and in a rare event, it fell to sea level on Stewart Island.

- Additional reporting Otago Daily Times

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