Heavy snow closes South Island roads as winter blast hits the country

Winter has well and truly begun as below negative temperatures and heavy snow hit some of the country this weekend.

Clouds in Canterbury this morning. Source: Janeve Stewart

Snow fall has closed many roads throughout the South Island with NIWA predicting 400 metres of snow to fall today.

State Highway 73 Springfield to Arthurs Pass is currently closed after heavy snow as well as State Highway 80, Aoraki Mount Cook Highway. 

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Part of State Highway 8 is currently closed between Fairlie and Tekapo. Source: 1 NEWS

State Highway Burkes Pass in Canterbury between Fairlie and Tekapo was also closed due to heavy snow, but has since reopened.

Road snowfall warnings are also in place today for Lewis Pass, Haast pass, Lindis Pass, Crown Range Road and Milford Road.

The cold snap is causing many parts of the South Island to reach below negative temperatures.

A cold southerly change is making its way up the country, according to MetService. The cold snap is expected to hit Christchurch at midday, before reaching Wellington tonight.

Tonight is expected to be another cold night with Wanaka dropping to -3 degrees, Timaru and Queenstown to - 4 degrees and Alexander to -5 degrees.

Timaru Airport was the coldest place in the country last night dropping to -5.3 degrees.

Check out your local weather forecast here.