|Hawkes Bay bad weather warning.North Island Roads closed|
|Posted by Issy|
|Wednesday, 25 June 2008|
|NZPA – Motorists are being urged to take care as heavy snow and ice forces road closures across the country, and gale force winds are forecast for later today. They warned gale force winds reaching 120kmh could hit Manawatu, Hawke’s Bay, Wairarapa and Wellington later today, with had the potential to damage trees, powerlines and roofs, and make driving difficult for large vehicles and motorcycles.Snow has closed the Desert Road between Rangipo and Taihape and State Highway 4 through National Park with SH3 via Taranaki the only north-south route open
Police have warned drivers to drive carefully over the Rimutaka Hill Road, between Upper Hutt and Featherston, because of icy conditions — particularly in Kaitoki.
In the South Island, snow has closed SH7, near Hanmer Springs, SH60 between Riwaka and Takaka, SH93 from Clinton to Mataura, SH87 between Outram and Ngapuna.
Icy patches have also closed SH63 between Wairau Valley and Kawatiri, SH6 between Kohatu and Kawatiri Junction.
The MetService said snow showers that had affected the central North Island should ease by this morning.
MetService weather ambassador Bob McDavitt said stronger gales could hit exposed places such as the Manawatu Gorge and the Tararua district and Golden Bay in Southland.
The squally westerly winds, accompanied by heavy rain, are expected to last through to the weekend.
Yesterday, Auckland and New Plymouth were buffeted by gusts of up to 120kmh.
Boaties were being warned of gale-force winds for Manukau and Waitemata harbours, Hauraki Gulf and Bream Head to Cape Colville.
Yesterday snow fell to 200m in Southland and the road warnings were issued for much of the country.
Several Southland schools opted not to open as snow made access difficult.
ACC has warned motorists about winter driving, urging drivers to adapt as conditions deteriorated.
“What drivers need to remember is to reduce their speed and increase their following distances. About half of all crashes happen at or about the speed limit, and that’s often because the driver has been going faster than is safe in the conditions,” ACC spokesperson Judy Buchanan said.
Last year 108 people were killed on the roads between June and August — up 14 percent on 2006. ACC said it was estimated 36 of those deaths plus a further 1000 injuries were caused by people going too fast for conditions.
“Most people know the two-second following rule, but on wet roads you should increase that to at least four seconds, and on icy roads leave at least ten seconds between you and the vehicle in front,” Ms Buchanan said.
ACC also reminded drivers to be sure their windscreens were completely ice-free and demisted before driving off.
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