Snow has started to fall across the South Island and gale-force winds have toppled trees and powerlines as a fierce polar blast takes hold. A severe weather warning is in place for heavy snow in the far south of the country as the first significant cold snap arrives with a vengeance. Up to 20cm of snow is expected to begin falling this afternoon. It will last for the next 18 hours in southern Otago and Southland hills.
The wintry weather is expected to hit the North Island tomorrow where the Desert Rd is now expecting 3cm of snow tomorrow morning. Snow is falling in Central Otago between Omakau and Ranfurly and motorists are being warned to take extra care on highways.
This afternoon's satellite images show the next front moving into Southland and showers feeding into the west. Images courtesy of JMA ^JL pic.twitter.com/Frq93TDLoc— MetService (@MetService) May 19, 2017
There was a light dusting of snow in the township of Naseby overnight.
A sub zero start for many this morning. An even colder night awaits tonight pic.twitter.com/w3q35CkZl9— NIWA Weather (@NiwaWeather) May 18, 2017
The Interislander ferry is warning passenger sailings across Cook Strait may be cancelled this weekend because of the predicted giant waves. The Bluebridge Cook Strait Ferry has suspended passenger bookings from Saturday afternoon until early Monday.
Large southwest swells through the weekend on both coasts, watch coastal roads at high tides. ^TA pic.twitter.com/skRiPyNg6I— MetService (@MetService) May 18, 2017