Motorists urged to take care with strong winds, snow forecast around much of NZ

Wild spring weather is expected to continue today, with multiple warnings in place.

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A heavy snow watch is in place for much of the South Island with road snowfall warnings also in force. Source: Breakfast

The Wellington region was lashed by strong winds yesterday, while further south snow blanketed farmland and state highways.

Today, a strong and very cold southwesterly airstream is expected to bring further snow to low levels in parts of the South Island, as well as severe west to southwest gales in some places, according to MetService.

"Strong winds could make driving hazardous, especially for high sided vehicles and motorcycles," the weather agency warned.

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1 NEWS reporter Jared McCulloch this midday September 29 report from Five Rivers, Otago. Source: 1 NEWS

"Snow is also expected to affect many higher roads and passes across the South Island, causing disruption to travel," MetService says.

"Also, the combination of snow and strong cold southwest winds is likely to cause stress to livestock."

A heavy snow warning is in place for much of the South Island, including Fiordland, Southland south of Riversdale, Stewart Island and Clutha south of Clinton.

There is also a heavy snow watch for Dunedin, Clutha north of Clinton, Central Otago south of Alexandra, Southland north of Riversdale, as well as Nelson west of Takaka, Buller and Westland north of Arthur’s Pass. 

State Highway 7 Lewis Pass, State Highway 7 Springs Junction to Reefton, State Highway 94 Te Anau to Milford and State Highway 93 Clinton to Mataura have closed until further notice due to snow.

Meanwhile, road snowfall warnings are in force for State Highway 1 Desert Road, State Highway 73 Arthur’s Pass, State Highway 8 Lindis Pass, Crown Range Road and State Highway 1 Dunedin to Waitati.

"People are urged to take extra precautions, especially those travelling, and to stay up to date with the latest forecasts and warnings for their area as the event unfolds," MetService advised.

There are also strong wind warnings for Hawke's Bay south of Hastings, and Tararua District, with severe gale northwesterlies in exposed places with gusts reaching 120km/h. 

"Strong wind gusts could damage trees, powerlines and unsecured structures. Driving may be hazardous, especially for high-sided vehicles and motorcycles," MetService warned.

There is also a strong wind watch in place for Dunedin and Clutha.

In Auckland, the Harbour Bridge was temporarily closed this morning due to strong wind gusts.