Region feels the sting of cold snap

Last updated 21:34 11/09/2012
Snow on State Highway 2, Mt Bruce
ROBERT KITCHIN/Fairfax NZ

BRRR: Snow falling on State Highway 2, near Mt Bruce, this morning.

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Both the Desert Road and the Rimutaka Hill Road have re-opened as conditions ease in the North Island.

The NZ Transport Agency (NZTA) said the Desert Road reopened shortly after 10am, with the Rimutaka route opened about an hour later.

NZTA central region operations manager Mark Owen said continuing snow flurries had kept the Rimutaka road closed until late in the morning.

Despite the overnight road closures, the lower North Island was spared the full brunt of the cold weather, with MetService forecaster Stephen Glassey saying strong southerly winds had mixed warmer air into the system, raising the temperature by around three degrees.

MetService said a cold and showery southwest flow was expected to ease across New Zealand today, as a ridge of high pressure came in from the Tasman Sea.

In the North Island, snow had been expected to fall above 300 metres in Dannevirke, with possible thunderstorms throughout the rest of Hawke's Bay and Wairarapa.

COLD START

Wintry conditions returned with a vengeance overnight and this morning, with snowfalls reported in rural areas of Manawatu and Wairarapa.

But, much of Manawatu had a flashback to winter as a frost gripped the region today.

Temperatures overnight dropped below zero degrees Celsius. By 7am MetService was recording a temperature of -0.8 degrees in Palmerston North.

The expected high today was 9 degrees.

MetService said a cold and showery southwest flow was expected to ease across New Zealand today, as a ridge of high pressure came in from the Tasman Sea.

Manawatu felt the effects of a cold snap sweeping the country, with a hail storm in Palmerston North and light snow falling in the outskirts of the region yesterday.

Apart from the hail storm, which hit about 6pm yesterday, there were also reports of snow near Norsewood.

‘‘Also, the combination of the strong winds with the snow or very cold showers will lead to significant wind chill. These conditions could cause distress for livestock without shelter," said Mr Anamani.

Apiti School principal Mary Cumming said snow had fallen nearby overnight, but not enough to close school today.

‘‘The concrete is clear, but there’s quite a bit on the field and a good dusting on the roof,’’ she said.

‘‘The kids should be able to make quite a good snowman.’’

‘‘There’s a poor wee lamb shivering away in a paddock.’’

On Manawatu Standard’s Facebook page, readers reacted to the cold blast.

Sasha Eastwood-Bennitt wrote: ‘‘Yes had heaps of hail here in Feilding, keep going outside to check for snow.’’

Bryan Gibson said there was ‘‘snow up here in Kimbolton for a bit. It’s settled on the grass, too’’.

Tania Martin said there had been a ‘‘nice dumping of snow in Apiti’’.

 


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- Manawatu Standard

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