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Cold snap already losing some of its puff

UPDATED 4:28pm — Some decent snow falls are possible across our ski fields over the next 12 to 24 hours but forecasters say snow amounts won’t be very much at lower levels.

The wintry snap is continuing to bite at the deep south with inland Canterbury experiencing a few thunderstorms and heavy downpours in the past hour according to reader Helen Leggatt.

“Whoaaaa big thunderstorm here now (inland Cant nr Sheffield) and a very shakey dog! Thunder and lightning and hail continuing” she wrote a short time ago on our interactive Facebook page.

Other readers on our Facebook page have reported light snow around inland parts of Otago and northern Southland and snow to low levels around the Catlins. 

Earlier today reader “Amanda” told us “Had a snow shower at 8.30 this morning in Wakari a Dunedin hill suburb – 200-250m above sea level. Big flakes”.  Amanda said snow was settling on Flagstaff and Mt Cargill to about 350m this morning.

As reported at the start of the week by, snow was most likely to sea level, or low levels, around Southland and Otago.

Snow showers are most likely overnight tonight and in the early hours of Friday morning for South Islanders.

However says snow to sea level isn’t expected to be very much, with sleet and rain showers being more common, especially north of Dunedin. 

Despite not a lot of snow being forecast, says motorists should drive with extreme care and carry chains in case of localised heavy falls on some alpine highways.

The angle of the wind is still a south westerly, which tends to be a much drier – and slightly warmer – wind direction for Canterbury, meaning snow is less likely to sea level in this region.  Latest data suggests precipitation will be fairly low over Canterbury tonight and on Friday.

In fact, says apart from a few showers overnight and first thing on Friday conditions should be mostly dry with clear skies expected by afternoon.  Sleet is possible in Christchurch in the early hours of Friday morning but most of the precipitation is expected to fall as rain showers, with plenty of long dry spells.  Hail is also possible this afternoon and overnight.

Sleet and hail showers are predicted for both Invercargill, Dunedin and Queenstown tonight with snow showers possibly affecting Queenstown and to a lesser extent, Invercargill.

North Island
Some snow showers are predicted by for the Desert Road tonight and tomorrow, but snow may not be heavy enough to close the road.  Motorists should check with roading authorities before heading out.

Snow flurries may also affect the top of the Rimutakas tonight too.

However snow isn’t predicted to fall in any North Island centres apart from Ohakune and Waiouru where the risk was “moderate” but heavy snow was not forecast. said at the start of this week that the cold snap would be “short and sharp”.  This afternoon the weather news authority says it now may not even be as sharp as first thought.

What are weather conditions like where you are today?  Have you had hail, snow or sleet?  Post a comment below! (and don’t forget to say where you’re from!)


Guest on 1/09/2011 5:43am

Apart from a decent hail shower this morning in my area of Invercargill, it’s been reasonably clear with a cold wind. 

Guest on 1/09/2011 4:59am

Sleet and Hail during the day but bright periods between – Some areas to East and North of city wil hail lying most of the day. The wind will cut you in half today tho. A “Strident” S.Wester. Hello Spring!

Rachel Jennings on 1/09/2011 4:44am

Any chance of thunder for Chrischurch? Smile

WW Forecast Team on 1/09/2011 5:22am

Hi Rachel – we don’t expect any, but there was a report of thunder at Shefield so clearly there are a couple thunderstorms around – but at this stage nothing significant predicted.

– WW

Dennis Farr on 1/09/2011 6:12am

Several nice big rolls of thunder around Oxford-Cust in the pasthalf hour along with some quite heavy small hail

Kennedy on 1/09/2011 12:33am

Brief light snow shower passing through Lawrence (Otago) just after midday. Doesn’t feel overly cold out, & the skies are clearing again now.

Guest on 1/09/2011 12:11am

Snow on the Blue Mountains and snow showers in Tapanui since early this morning – mixed in with some sunny spells but bitterly cold wind.  Even the dog demanding a scarf and beanie!

Mike on 31/08/2011 11:41pm

Hi WW, any chance the Central Plateau with be seeing any snow in the next week or so? Heading down for some snowboarding next weekend.

WW Forecast Team on 1/09/2011 12:21am

Hi Mike,
Should be some good snow on the mountains tonight, tomorrow and perhaps early Saturday morning – then it’s looking snow-free (with clear skies and little wind) for much of next week.  But next weekend we see northerlies (warm) and clouds and possibly gales moving in either Sunday or Monday 12th,


– WW

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