A significant amount of new snow has led to dangerous avalanche warnings in two alpine ranges in the South Island of New Zealand. The Avalanche Advisory has issued alerts for a considerable risk of avalanches in the alpine terrain at Two Thumb Range and the high alpine terrain at Aoraki / Mount Cook.
Recent observations include a large storm slab avalanche in the Richmond Range, along with multiple loose, wet avalanches spotted from the valley floor in the southern end of the Two Thumb range.
A moderate avalanche risk alert has been issued for several areas, including Tongariro, Arthur’s Pass, Craigieburn Range, Mt Hutt, Ohau, Queenstown, Wānaka, Fiordland, and Mount Aspiring National Park.
Motorists are also being urged to exercise caution while driving due to the snow. Snow is forecast to fall down to 700 meters on the Milford Road, as well as on the Lewis and Porters passes in the South Island. The Lindis Pass is expected to see a brief fall of snow as low as 800 meters, while the Crown Range Road’s snow level will lower to 800 meters this afternoon and to 500 meters tonight.
In the North Island, snow is predicted to fall as low as 700 meters early tomorrow morning on the Desert Road, with up to eight centimeters expected to accumulate on the road.