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Tough call: More snow coming for coastal Otago/Canterbury?

The latest information at hand is suggesting a warm advection snow event may be on the cards for Canterbury from overnight and through Saturday, clearing in the evening. We must stress that understanding with these type of events, especially in Canterbury, is quite limited.

In fact, these type of snow events in Canterbury’s past have, many times, been left out of forecasts, possibly due to the hard to understand factors involved with their formation.

For the most part this storm system has turned out as we predicted, and farmers in inland areas have had good warning to take the various precautions. But for our most populated centre in the South Island (and some other eastern centres) any potential snow event this time around has been a tease for many (and a relief for some!).

From Friday night and through Saturday Christchurch could – and we repeat could – get another chance at snow, but just like Friday it will be hit and miss – and the data favours heavier falls inland rather than the coasts.

We are more confident of further snow in land, or above 100m, with the potential for heavy falls.

In the 2011 snow storm in August similar conditions happened – with snow showers, some heavy, lingering for a day or two after many thought it would be over.

Please do not take this as an “it will happen” statement, but there is potential there for some heavy snow developing about the city overnight and continuing through tomorrow. It really is a very difficult situation to comprehend and this is just a note to make you aware it could happen.

This event – if it does pull off – will span most of Canterbury and coastal Otago on Saturday.

And if it doesn’t happen?  Well, you can still expect another wintry day with sleet, hail and more cold winds from the south.  It’s the coastal snow that is borederline – not the very cold weather!

– By Aaron Wilkinson,


Guest on 21/06/2013 9:02pm

Thanks for this info – really interesting!
Good solid sleety rain here in Oamaru, currently 2.8C and 93% humidity.

Glad of an update on this event – is it panning out?

WW Forecast Team on 22/06/2013 12:42am

Hi there – thanks very much for the weather obs where you are, they’re very helpful to us!  And glad you love the info 🙂  It’s all going as planned, major snow inland, borderline at the coasts and more strong winds and rain for central NZ – but it’s all starting to ease.  By Sunday it wil be all east of NZ, storm over and done with!

– WW

michelle on 21/06/2013 8:06pm

Thankyou for your updates, Fore-warned is fore-armed, and if it doesnt eventuate, then all the better : ))

WW Forecast Team on 22/06/2013 12:44am

Very true Michelle, we put out similar messages this week.  Certainly for those that need the warnings the most (Farmers) the snow has been a significant event inland across big chunks of the South Island.  It was just 2 degrees and pouring with rain in Chch overnight, imagine if it had dropped just 1 degree or so more – would’ve been a significant snow dumping in Chch this morning – razor thin margin for it, but it didn’t quite get there for the coastal areas (and many farmers will be happy abouit that!)

– Phil

Guest on 21/06/2013 3:16pm

Just to say thanks for the efforts you people put in to bring us as much info as possible . I don’t understand why some get so annoyed when the forecast doesn’t pan out as predicted. Surely NOT getting a weather even as severely as predicted is a GOOD outcome .

WW Forecast Team on 21/06/2013 5:09pm

I wonder the same thing.  It’s very odd – I always think, ‘surely they dont want people hurt, to justify the warnings?’!  Anyway, thanks a lot – we just give our opinion, people can like us or not like us, we aren’t trying to fool anyone!


– Phil

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