Umbrellas serve dual purpose

The umbrellas are out once again, but not to ward off the sun - the rain has returned and MetService warns that cooler temperatures will stick around.

MetService duty forecaster Liz Walsh said a weather system tapping into Antarctica had caused yesterday's rain and chillier temperatures.

"We're basically under this huge trough and . . . it's pulling all this cold air from the Southern Ocean up the country."

After a stretch of hot weather, the cool change had been a shock to much of the country, Ms Walsh said.

While the rain was expected to move on in time for Waitangi Day, Ms Walsh warned temperatures would not return to last week's soaring highs for the holiday.

"[Southlanders] will probably wake up to a clear, fine morning - clear, but cold."

Invercargill and rural Southland are predicted to reach a high of 17 degrees Celsius tomorrow, while Queenstown, Alexandra and Balclutha should fare slightly better in the low 20s.

The rain should hold off for few days of sunshine in Invercargill and Queenstown, with patchy showers and fine spells for the rest of Southland.

The rain has been welcomed by many across the region, including farmers and growers.

Gore Garden Club past president Helen Miller said the change came at just the right time for many gardeners around the region, who were struggling to keep their plants hydrated during the heatwave.

"We're enjoying the dampness. Many more days [of heat] and we would have been feeling it. The rain has just made a huge difference."

Today, Invercargill is expected to hit 15C and Queenstown could reach 17C after morning rain, while rural Southland should make 16C between isolated showers.

The Southland Times