New Zealand’s capital Auckland has been snow-free for the past two days, and the national capital Wellington has seen the first snowfall in two weeks, prompting the Government to call for further snow removal across the country.
The capital’s snowfall was the second-lowest since December 2016, according to the National Snow and Ice Data Centre.
The city’s total snowfall of 1.5cm (0.8in) on Saturday was the lowest since December last year.
The National Weather Service said Wellington was experiencing a mild winter with temperatures in the 20s, and that Wellington was expected to have a more dry winter.
However, it warned that the number of snow-related incidents would increase in the coming days as the city saw the heaviest snowfall since December 16.
“We’re expecting to see more snow, which could mean more accidents,” said Weather Services spokeswoman Natalie White.
“It’s a bit of a relief that we’ve been able to get this far and have had a lot of snow but it still means there are still a lot more roads to clear.”
Auckland Mayor Celia Wade said she was happy with the weather.
“I think it’s great that we’re having a snow season.
We’ve been having a good year so far, so I’m happy with it,” she said.
But the city’s Mayor Maung Hui said it was not an ideal time to clear roads.
“The weather conditions we’re seeing today in Wellington is not ideal for clearing roads and I don’t think it would be a good time to be clearing roads in Wellington,” she told a media briefing.
“There’s a lot on the road and it would take a long time.”
The snow has also forced the closure of a number of local shops, including a popular shop called The Snow Shop.
The shop has had to close due to “high winds and heavy snowfall”, the manager, Lisa Hsu, told the media.
“Some people are unable to open the shop because the snow has blocked the roads,” she added.
“People have had to put their bags in the cars and take the train.”
Ms Hsu said she hoped the snow would “start to fall in the morning” but she said she would keep customers posted on Twitter and Facebook.
Ms Hui’s comments followed an announcement by Wellington’s police and emergency services that they were seeking people to help remove snow and ice from the city.
Police said they had received 567 calls for assistance in the past 24 hours, while emergency services were in contact with residents.
The Wellington Fire Brigade said it had received 1,000 calls to help clear roads, and said it expected to receive more as the weekend progressed.
“The fire service are now making the snow removal operations a priority as we have more staff in the city,” a spokesman said.
“Firefighters have been clearing roads for people to walk on, and people have been driving around the city to get a look at the snow.”