Severe Frost and Black Ice Expected in Most of New Zealand Amid Freezing Temperatures

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A woman, along with her dog, assesses her ice and snow encrusted car on a side street in Washington March 17, 2014.
A woman, along with her dog, assesses her ice and snow encrusted car on a side street in Washington March 17, 2014. REUTERS/Gary Cameron REUTERS/Gary Cameron

Severe frost and freezing temperatures are expected to be on their way to New Zealand's South Island. Temperatures could fall to extreme levels in most of New Zealand which will freeze melting snow and set conditions for severe frost.

Stephen Glassey, Metservice meteorologist, predicted that Central Otago will be the hardest hit with a 12 degrees Celsius temperature in Cromwell and 9C forecasted for Queenstown. He said people should be aware of icy roads which make driving dangerous.

Severe frost will cover most of the country, including Northland. According to the weather bureau, Otago, Canterbury and Southland may experience one of the coldest nights on record.

The city council of Dunedin has a team ready to dump around 60 tonnes of grit on main roads covered in ice. Peter Standing, a road maintenance engineer, has advised locals to check the council's website for more updates.

In a report by Otago Times, Queensland police are advising residents to observe "extreme care" on major roads as surrounding communities wake up to a heavy blanket of snow. Motorists were advised to be careful of overhanging tree branches heavy with snow which might snap and fall on roads.

Many businesses in Queenstown remained closed. Snow had affected the operations of some flights in and out of most resorts. An Air New Zealand spokesperson said the freezing temperatures had cancelled the link services between Christchurch and Queenstown. Passengers of those flights were transferred to an alternative service.

The New Zealand Transport Agency has warned motorists passing Southland and Otago roads to be wary of severe ice. In a statement, the agency said the storm that had swept through both regions were followed by cold weather which made black ice a "real danger."

According to reports, black ice is dangerous since they cannot be easily spotted on roads. Otago-Southland Highways Manager Ian Duncan said winter roads can be dangerous and advised drivers to reduce their speed, increase following distances and be careful when turning a corner. 

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