Topic: Weather

Motorists advised to avoid unnecessary travel due to weather conditions

By Online News - Rereātea

High winds, rain and snow are causing havoc across the lower and central North Island. 

Heavy snow fall in the south has made its way up the country, resulting in the closure of the Desert Road and alternative routes through National Park via SH 47 and SH 4 are closed.  

Motorists are being advised to avoid all unnecessary travel.  

High winds are having an impact in Wellington with roofs from homes being lifted, scaffolding falling onto power lines and a garden shed in Khandallah being blown onto the road.

Heavy rain in the Wairarapa has caused flooding in Carterton.

Given the weather conditions anyone who has plans to travel in or through the lower and central North Island is asked to check their route and if you don’t have to travel don’t.

If you do have to travel in this area please drive to the conditions and have patience as your journey may take longer.

Wellington City Council’s Call Centre is being kept busy with scores of calls about trees and branches down on roads, slips and other storm-related damage including reports of roofing iron coming loose on a number of buildings. The incidents are being reported from all parts of the city.

Roads around the south coast are, however, still open as at 8am but motorists are warned to take care in case waves drive debris ashore. 

Motorists are urged to take care due to the likelihood of more slips and trees coming down on roads during the day.

The NZ Transport Agency is advising people who want to pass through or to the central North Island to consider delaying their travel until later in the week.

The main routes through the centre of the North Island and State Highway 5 Napier-Taupo are closed because of ice or snow. 

A Transport Agency spokesperson, Karen Boyt, says this is a significant weather event and everyone in the central North Island and up in to the Waikato region should be delaying non-essential travel.

“Staff are out on the roads around the central North Island clearing snow and preparing for ice where they can, but the roads should only be used for emergencies or for necessary business.

“We also need people to start thinking about their longer term plans as well and considering delaying them because once the ice thaws out we can see an increase in slips and rockfalls.

“If you do have to travel check our website before you leave and drive to the conditions,” Ms Boyt says.

How to stay up to date:

• Find safe winter driving tips at the NZTA website

• Important information is also shared via the Transport Agency’s official Twitter and Facebook accounts listed here.

• Drivers can also call 0800 4 HIGHWAYS (0800 44 44 49) to speak to the call centre team who can provide them with traffic and travel information either before they’re travelling or when they’re on the road, safely parked off the highway

Simple rules for safe winter travelling:

• Allow extra time

• Ensure your vehicle is safe for winter driving

• Drive to the road and weather conditions

• Slow down and be prepared for unexpected hazards

• Allow greater following distance between you and the vehicle ahead

• Make sure your cell phone is well charged, check car charger also

• Have blankets, snacks, bottles of water ready in case of emergency or a breakdown.