Hail, thunder, snow hits the country

04:42, Jan 09 2014
Snow at Mt Hutt, Janury 9, 2014
PERFECT VIEW: A kea sits atop a post on the Mt Hutt skifield.
Snow at Mt Hutt, Janury 9, 2014
Katie Bieber and Lauren Anderson check out the fresh snow at Mt Hutt ski field.
Snow at Mt Hutt, Janury 9, 2014
Fresh snow has fallen at Mt Hutt ski field today.

Summer is taking a break in parts of the North Island with potentially damaging hail and thunderstorms hitting northern and eastern parts of the island.


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MetService meteorologist Daniel Corbett said the thunderstorms were all over the place, from Taupo through to Gisborne and up to Auckland.

Heavy rain and hail should pass Auckland in the early afternoon, heading out east across the Hauraki Gulf.

It would linger longer in the Taupo to Gisborne area but was expected to clear by 7pm this evening.

Large hail can cause significant damage to crops, orchards, vines, glasshouses and vehicles, as well as make driving conditions hazardous, MetService said.




American visitors Katie Bieber and Lauren Anderson thought they had escaped winter when they came to work on a Canterbury farm for the summer.

Bieber, from Tennessee, and Anderson, from Florida, enjoyed a rare chance to play in summer snow at the top of mid-Canterbury's Mt Hutt yesterday.

Mt Hutt Ski Area manager James McKenzie said the pair were staying in Methven for the summer to work on a local farm and were surprised to see snow had fallen nearby despite being the middle of summer. 

Snow was not unusual at Mt Hutt in summer, as southerly winds usually brought some snowflakes every couple of months or so, he said.

''It's quite a big snowfall for January, but usually most years we get some snowfall in summer.''

McKenzie estimated about 6 or 7 centimetres of snow fell on the ski area overnight yesterday, with closer to 10cm at the top of the mountain.

''It won't stick around very long. There's been a few people having a troop up to see and touch the snow and ... we'll probably get some more tomorrow.''

Metservice forecaster John Law said any further snowfall would happen only at the top of the mountains in Canterbury's high country.

"As we go into the weekend, the freezing level's picking right up to around 3000 metres."

Weather for the wider Canterbury region was looking "pretty decent" over the next couple of days, he said.

A high of 21 degrees Celsius is expected in Christchurch tomorrow, with the mostly fine weather set to continue on Saturday.

However, conditions are forecast to become more unsettled on Sunday, with rain and southwesterlies persisting early next week.