Snow falls as cold front hits

Last updated 13:04 18/04/2011

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Snow is falling in Waiouru this afternoon as a southerly storm whips up the North Island after falling across parts of the South Island overnight.

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A resident told the Dominion Post the town was experiencing a light covering of snow on streets and in front of shops.

A gale-force cold wind is blowing across much of New Zealand today, with gusts of up to 110kmh predicted in Wellington and the east.

Rural parts of Otago and Southland above 400m woke to a dusting of snow this morning.

The Te Anau and northern Southland area was affected and the hills around Queenstown received a heavy dusting of snow over night.

The Remarkables skifield reported 10cm of fresh snow this morning.

MetService forecaster Matthew Ford said that weather around Wellington was set to return to good conditions tomorrow, but could then deteriorate again over the Easter weekend.

Another spell of cold and showers were expected to hit at the end of the week "but nothing quite as cold and horrible as today."

Blue Skies weather forecaster Tony Trewinnard was also picking a cold, wet Easter for Christchurch.

The MetService earlier today issued a severe weather warning, with Wellington, Wairarapa, Gisborne, coastal areas of Hawke's Bay and Kaikoura set to be battered by southeasterly winds.

Drivers were advised to take care in the high winds, with temperatures set to drop.

Sleety showers had been expected along the higher parts of the Desert Rd today with snow for a time, the Metservice said.

About 1cm-2cm of snow could accumulate on the summit of the road between 9am and 3pm, it said.

Hail could also hit Wellington as the cold air moved overhead.

- Michelle Duff, The Dominon Post, Southland Times and NZPA

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