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Wild weather hits southern roads

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 23/05/2016

Wintry weather conditions have closed some roads in the lower South Island with motorists being warned of snow, flooding, ice and sea debris.

State Highway 8 between Omarama and Tarras was closed by snow on Tuesday morning, the New Zealand Transport Agency says. Flooding at the Pomahaka Bridge had also closed part of SH90, between Gore and Tapanui, but there was a detour.

Flooding, snow and ice had hit SH83 between Oamaru and Kurow while road workers were repairing storm damage on SH6's Haast Pass. Meanwhile, on the West Coast, high tides had thrown debris onto SH6 at Bruce Bay.

Southland District Council announced a number of local road closures on Monday evening, saying drivers should only travel if necessary, as many affected roads had surface flooding.

The closures follow a dump of snow and rain in the southern regions that saw 38 people, including two children, trapped for 24 hours on a back country 4WD trek when they became stranded in blizzard-like conditions near the Southland-Otago border on Sunday night.

But it wasn't all bad news - ski fields have welcomed the first major snowfall for 2016, ahead of the season opening in June.

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