An­other storm on the way

The Southland Times - - NEWS - LIZ MCDON­ALD

Win­ter storms are ex­pected to re­turn to the South Is­land this week, bring­ing heavy rain, gales, floods, more travel trou­ble and up to half a me­tre of snow in the high coun­try.

Just days af­ter the storms that brought snow to low lev­els and travel dis­rup­tions, me­te­o­rol­o­gists fore­cast an­other low will ar­rive on Thurs­day.

‘‘An­other week and an­other se­vere weather event shap­ing up for parts of the coun­try,’’ warned fore­caster Blue Skies yes­ter­day.

MetSer­vice said the storms would come from the west, but a southerly front at the same time would af­fect the south­ern half of the South Is­land.

‘‘There’s def­i­nitely agree­ment that se­vere weather is com­ing and will grip the coun­try. But we’re just not sure of the ex­act tim­ing for each lo­ca­tion,’’ fore­caster An­gus Hines said.

‘‘There’s def­i­nitely a pos­si­bil­ity of travel dis­rup­tions.’’

Tem­per­a­tures would be cold but not as cold as last week’s storm from the South­ern Ocean, he said.

Mo­torists were al­ready fac­ing dis­rup­tions in parts with the Lindis Pass, on State High­way 8, closed to tow­ing ve­hi­cles be­fore 1pm yes­ter­day.

The NZ Trans­port Agency is­sued area warn­ings for SH 8 be­tween Omarama and Tar­ras and Fair­lie and Twizel due to snow and ice, and SH 80 from Ben Ohau to Ao­raki/Mt Cook due to snow.

Chains are es­sen­tial for all ve­hi­cles trav­el­ling through the Lindis Pass.

The agency ad­vised mo­torists to take ex­tra care when trav­el­ling.

Blue Skies fore­cast that MidCan­ter­bury and South Can­ter­bury were ex­pected to bear the brunt of the storm, with up to 100mm of rain and more in the hill coun­try, fall­ing as snow above 500m.

Farm­ers were warned 20cm to 30cm of snow could ac­cu­mu­late above 500m on Fri­day, pos­si­bly more in Mid-Can­ter­bury and South Can­ter­bury. Alti­tudes above 700m could re­ceive up to 50cm of snow.

At this stage the fore­caster did not ex­pect snow on the Can­ter­bury plains.

For Christchurch res­i­dents, Blue Skies fore­cast wind and rain to be the main haz­ards, with gales for Banks Penin­sula, near-gale winds over the city on Fri­day and a pe­riod of heavy rain.

Air and road travel were likely to be dis­rupted again. Rain on Fri­day may cause flood­ing in South and Mid-Can­ter­bury, while the south­ern in­land passes may have snow.

Cook Strait may ex­pe­ri­ence gales and heavy southerly swells, most likely on Satur­day, the fore­cast says.

Blue Skies agreed with MetSer­vice that, while the de­tails of lo­ca­tion and tim­ing of the se­vere weather may change in the next few days, its ar­rival looked cer­tain.

MetSer­vice fore­cast a chance of heavy rain for parts of the South Is­land in­clud­ing the Can­ter­bury head­wa­ters at the end of the week, a pos­si­bil­ity of snow at up­per lev­els, and se­vere south-west gales for coastal ar­eas from Banks Penin­sula north. It said a low could ar­rive in Can­ter­bury and south­ern Marl­bor­ough late on Thurs­day and deepen on Fri­day as it moved east.

For Christchurch, MetSer­vice fore­cast fine weather un­til the souther­lies ar­rive on Thurs­day night, with a chance of heavy rain and strong southerly winds for Fri­day.

‘‘We are keep­ing a close watch. We’ll be is­su­ing se­vere weather watches and warn­ings when we have more clar­ity - peo­ple should def­i­nitely keep an eye on those.’’

The MetSer­vice’s long-range fore­cast for In­ver­cargill is for a mainly cloudy and rainy week with tem­per­a­tures ex­pected to reach be­tween 9 de­grees Cel­sius and 10 C.

To­day is ex­pected to be fine.

IAIN MCGREGOR/STUFF

Snow in Sh­effield, Can­ter­bury.

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