First snow for winter 2012
The south has had its first snow for the winter and while temperature will improve today, the MetService is forecasting a bitterly cold day on Friday.
Queenstown and Arrowtown residents woke to thick snow around the townships as the area received its first serious snowfall of the year.
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In Queenstown snow was as low as the Skyline gondola terminal at about 600m above sea level and down to Deer Park Heights, above Kelvin Heights.
In Arrowtown sleet is continuing to fall to ground level but not settling. However, snow has settled in slightly higher residential areas such as Dalefield.
Coronet Peak had 13cm overnight and still has snow flurries still coming through.
Coronet Peak is scheduled to open on June 9 and the Remarkables on June 16. Cardrona Alpine Resort is scheduled to open on June 22 and Treble Cone on June 28.
Te Anau residents had a chilly start to the day this morning, also waking to the first significant snowfall of the season.
The white powder has covered mountains, trees and paddocks, falling to road level in some places.
Weather forecasters are predicting another cold snap for the southern half of the South Island later in the week, putting an end to the extended spell of settled autumn weather.
MetService severe weather forecaster Leigh Matheson said parts of Southland, Clutha, Fiordland and possibly Otago were in for a cold day on Friday with more snow forecast to fall as low as 400m.
"It will be windy and bitterly cold.''
The temperature is expected to bounce back up today but Matheson warned Friday would be windy, wet and bitterly cold in comparison.
Most of the snow that fell overnight accumulated in the higher parts of Southland, Clutha and Fiordland, with 3cm reported near Mid Dome, 2cm at Winton, a light dusting at Ranfurly and snow as low as 300m around Queenstown.
"It's all set to slowly melt away today but there's another cold snap coming on Thursday night which will hang about through to Friday morning. It could be very similar (to last night's cold front) and has the same target area, possibly reaching Dunedin.''
The Southland Times