NZ gets a jump on winter

MICHAEL DALY
Last updated 09:10 31/05/2014
frost
Nick Reed/Fairfax NZ

WRAP UP WARM, WINTER'S HERE: Early morning frost this week in rural Waikato.

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It officially starts tomorrow, but winter has decided to come to the party a day early, with people waking up to icy windshields and extensive frosts across the eastern South Island and lower North Island this morning. Overnight temperatures dropped to as low as -5 degrees Celsius in Central Otago.

Frosts were to be expected when conditions were calm and clear during the long winter nights, MetService duty forecaster Marylin Avery said.

Ranfurly and Cromwell in Central Otago both got down to -5C overnight, as did Tekapo in inland Canterbury.

At Timaru and Christchurch airports the temperature dropped to -4C, at Ashburton and Blenheim airport it dropped to -1C, at Dunedin airport if fell to -2C, although in Dunedin city itself the lowest it got was 3C.

In the Wellington suburb of Wainuiomata the temperature fell to -1C and in Wallaceville in Upper Hutt it dropped to -2C. At Paraparumu on the Kapiti Coast it fell as low as -1C, while at Wellington airport it only dropped as low as 3C.

Palmerston North, Waiouru and Taupo all fell to zero.

Avery said the readings were for air temperatures. The temperatures on the ground could be a few degrees cooler, allowing a frost to develop.

"The air temperature can be above zero and you will still see a frost on the ground... and it feels really cold," she said. In fact, even with air temperatures up to 3C, people could still be seeing frost on the ground.

Queenstown Lakes District Council warned areas of frost and ice were likely on some roads this morning. "Be careful on corners and shaded areas. Watch for grit and drive to the conditions."

MetService continues to predict a fine Queen's Birthday weekend for much of the country.

For the rest of today in the North Island, Gisborne and Hawke's Bay are the only places expecting any showers, although rain is forecast for the eastern Bay of Plenty ranges tonight.

In the South Island, southern Fiordland and coastal Southland are the only places expecting showers.

For tomorrow, June 1, the traditional start of winter, patchy rain could spread over northern areas of the North Island, while in the South Island showers about the south coast are expected to clear.

On Monday, showers are expected from Northland to Coromandel Peninsula and in Gisborne and northern Hawke's Bay, but fine weather is forecast for the rest of the North Island.

In the South Island the only showers expected are about the south coast and they should clear.

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