Snow is settling around Queenstown, 300 metres above sea level, as a wintry change pushes into the deep south.
The mix of cold and mild air overnight saw thunderstorms pop up over the North Island and this hour the free and live Lightning Tracker has detected a cluster over Waikato.
Over 200 strikes were detected in the past hour bringing the total so far for Sunday to a little over 1200 strikes over or near New Zealand.
As we reported yesterday, the snow was unlikely to be an issue for most places but that windy and cold weather would head north with snow expected to affect the Desert Road later today and overnight.
The system, while similar in the shape of the snow storm two weeks, is significantly smaller and has far less moisture and energy. It means many northern and eastern regions will be mostly dry despite the cold change moving in later today and that conditions will ease as fast as they came on for some.
So where is the cold change now?
It has just moved into Christchurch – snow is not expected in the city itself. “Looks like the southerly change just roared into Christchurch. Rain just started falling, and winds just became strong” wrote Jacob Chubb on the WeatherWatch Facebook Page.
Further south and snow is falling in Queenstown. Peter Murray took this picture confirming snow is falling in the town. He says it’s also very windy.
And the wind is certainly the most widespread feature of the current system.
In Auckland gusty westerlies are gusting to 80km/h and higher in exposed areas.
The southerly change has just roared into Christchurch in the past few minutes bringing gale force southerlies gusting 90km/h. The temperature has fallen from 10 degrees to 6 degrees in just 10 minutes.
WeatherWatch.co.nz expects only showers for most North Island centres today with the chance of isolated hail and thunder later today and overnight, especially along the western coastline of the lower North Island between Taranaki and Kapiti – but again a repeat of last months storm is not expected.
The stormy conditions around some parts of the country could affect some prop engine flights and passengers are advised to check their airline and airport websites.
On Monday WeatherWatch.co.nz says conditions will rapidly improve with settled weather likely on Tuesday as a short lived high moves in.
on 7/08/2011 6:47am
yes there was a bit of hail here earlier too, but was really surprising to see snow flurries here again, especially at such a comparitively warm temperature.. don’t remember seeing any at all last year.
on 7/08/2011 5:20am
just had about five minutes of light snow flurries in highbury, wellington! uncanny how we had pretty much identical, albeit slightly colder weather on sunday night exactly two weeks ago!
on 7/08/2011 6:31am
Ngaio, Wellinton had hail about 3.30pm.
on 7/08/2011 12:41am
Cold change not long ago hit Waipara (North Canterbury). Brought strong gusts, hail and small snow flurry, now just raining on and off but very cold.
on 7/08/2011 12:22am
Just ran the Taupo half marathon in pretty terrible conditions! Currently heavy showers coming through with gusty west/norwesters. What time is the cold change due on the Desert Road?
on 7/08/2011 12:25am
Thanks for the update – and congrats on running the half marathon while most of us were probably sleeping in!
Cold change is yet to reach the North Island so the rest of this afternoon should be ok – snow most likely tonight and into Monday morning…unsure if it will be enough to close it but definitely borderline.
on 7/08/2011 12:03am
Apart from a cold wind with hail and thunderstorms about 3am this morning here in Invers, it’s been sunny for the last hour or so. The Queenstown webcams show clearing skies with no snow to lake level.
on 8/08/2011 3:44am
my pic was taken at my home in frankton. Queentown town is 6 km away it may have just missed the town we had about 1cm then it melted by mid morning
on 7/08/2011 12:00am
Quite a strong blustery cold southgwesterly here with passing showers of sleet/snow but easing. Temp. been as low as 3.0deg C now sitting at 5.8deg C. Snow lying on the summits of Flagstaff and Mt Cargill.