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Snow, swells and gales to batter NZ

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 7/09/2016 Cleo Mary Fraser
The Crown Range road in Central Otago is currently clear but with more snow in the forecast all vehicles must carry chains. © Twitter/@QLDC/Queenstown Lakes District Council The Crown Range road in Central Otago is currently clear but with more snow in the forecast all vehicles must carry chains.

"Bitterly cold" weather will bring strong winds and snow to low levels in the South Island and parts of the lower North Island, MetService says.

The Queenstown Lakes District Council said snow had already fallen this morning on the Crown Range and more was forecast later this evening. MetService had strong wind warnings in place for a vast stretch of the east coast, from the Wairarapa down to Waipapa Point in Southland.

Those areas could expect severe gales with gusts of up to 120kmh in exposed places, from now until tomorrow night, MetService said.

In the Wairarapa, gusts could rise to up to 140kmh.

Duty meteorologist Peter Little said the weather would be "bitterly cold" for the next 24 hours.

A heavy snow warning was in place for Taupo and Taihape, where snow could fall down to 300 metres above sea level, he said.

Snow was also forecast to fall on most of the South Island passes, as well as the Desert Road and the Rimutaka Hill Road.

The New Zealand Transport Agency said the West Coast had large coastal swells in the past day, and swells of up to four metres were also forecast for the Kaikoura coast.

Drivers crossing all alpine passes should carry chains as a precaution, it said.


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