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Winter conditions South Island, be ready for black ice at daybreak


Southland, Otago and the alpine passes of the South Island have had snowfalls and freezing temperatures in the past 24 hours with potentially more overnight. Wet and icy road conditions are likely in many areas of the southern South Island Thursday morning.

“Drivers in places like inland Southland need to be ready for black ice particularly at daybreak,” says Transport Agency Senior Journey Manager Neil Walker. “Please slow down if you are driving on these highways in the early morning. Ice-prone highways will be gritted but snow or rain and freezing temperatures can still make them dangerous.

“Black ice is largely invisible on the road surface and is commonest in shady areas and on bridges – early morning and late at night.

“Because some road areas will have very cold temperatures, it will not take much clear sky for ice to form before dawn Thursday morning. We are hopeful that there will be some wind and cloud overnight, which will reduce ice forming, but in inland places, people need to drive cautiously and be prepared for black ice.”

Simple tips

  • Drive later in the morning if you can
  • Keep your speed down
  • Look out for ice/frost/slush patches on corners, in shady areas, and on bridge decks but be aware that black ice blends into the road
  • Increase following distances
  • Check the conditions before you head out (see list of helpful links below).

Places where black ice may form in Southland Thursday morning

SH6 - Winton to Kingston
SH94 - Lumsden to Te Anau
SH 96 - Ohai Nightcaps area
SH 93 -Mataura to Clinton

Chains a requirement for Milford Sound from tonight

Drivers on SH94 to and from Milford Sound are required by law to carry chains from 5 pm tonight between Te Anau Downs and Milford Sound. This will be reviewed again in the morning depending on road conditions. The highway remains open but is icy and drivers are urged to take care and know how to use the chains.


Otago drivers need to be ready for ice across most of the Otago network tomorrow morning and slow down on gritted roads also. Crews will be gritting highways tonight and before dawn.

Snow is also forecast for the Lindis Pass (SH8) between Omarama and Tarras, the top of SH85 (the Pigroot, Red Hill Summit nearer to Kyeburn) Palmerston to Ranfurly, SH8 Beaumont Hill, SH87 Clarks Junction (between Middlemarch and Mosgiel) and SH1 Kilmog and Northern Motorway in and out of Dunedin and the Crown Range between Wanaka and Queenstown.

Alpine passes and other road snow forecasts from MetService

  • Lewis Pass (SH7)

Another period of snow is expected on Thursday. Between 4am and 10am Thursday morning, expect 1 to 2cm of snow to accumulate above 500 metres.

  • Arthur’s Pass (SH73)

Another period of snow is expected early Thursday morning. Between 1am and 5am Thursday, expect 1 to 2cm of snow to accumulate near the summit, and lesser amounts to 500 metres.

  • Porters Pass (SH73)

Another period of snow is expected early Thursday morning. From midnight tonight to 6am Thursday,5 to 10cm of snow may accumulate near the summit and lesser amounts to 500 metres.

  • Lindis Pass (SH8)

Another period of snow showers is expected tonight. Between 9pm this evening and 3am Thursday, expect 2 to 5cm of snow to accumulate near the summit of the road, and lesser amounts to 400 metres.

  • Crown Range Road

A few snow showers are expected throughout today, then should become frequent for a time tonight before clearing overnight. Between 11am today and 2am Thursday, a further 2 to 5cm of snow may accumulate on the road.

  • Milford Road (SH94)

A few snow showers are expected to continue throughout today south of Lake Gunn, then should become frequent and widespread for a time this evening before easing tonight. Between 11am and 11pm today, a further 2 to 4cm of snow may accumulate on the road south of Lake Gunn, with 1 to 2cm possible near the tunnel during this evening.

  • Dunedin to Waitati Highway (SH1)

One or two snow showers are still possible near the summit of the road until around 2pm today, then the snow level should rise. Between midday and 2pm today, 1cm or less of snow may settle near the summit of the road.


Southland highway this morning

Southland highway this morning.


Check your highways before you step into your vehicle

Motorists can get real time information