Expect a lot of snow says 'Moon Man'
Weather prediction guru Ken Ring reckons southern skifields and Southland and Central Otago are in for snow and plenty of it this winter.
Ring has maintained a healthy living from his professional weather predictions which use lunar cycles to predict weather and earthquakes.
He terms his predictions "alternative weather" and publishes annual weather almanacs for New Zealand, Australia and Ireland.
His New Zealand almanac covers 64 towns and it usually features as one of the top 10 selling non-fiction books in the country and is widely used as a reliable weather prediction source by farmers, fishermen and event organisers - although his methods have earned flak from scientists and sceptics.
Although his 2013 snow predictions are given as "trends only" and come with an "allow up to two-day error" clause, Ring has predicted snow to 400 metres in the south of the South Island as soon as May 27 and 28.
This would give Coronet Peak, with a base elevation of 1168m, The Remarkables, with a base elevation of 1622m, and Cardrona, with a base elevation of 1670m, a good pre-season dusting of snow.
Opening dates for Coronet Peak and the Remarkables are scheduled for June 8 and 22 respectively, while Cardrona and Treble Cone are set for June 21 and 27.
These dates tie in with Ring's prediction of a large depression crossing the entire country bringing snow and ice to southern districts from June 10 to 12, and snow to low levels and inland and high country South Island areas from June 13 to 14.
This is followed by snow to 200 metres in Canterbury and Otago with possible road and school closures from June 20 and further falls likely at the end of June.
Early to mid-July could be prime time for snow as low as 100 metres in the south of the South Island, which Ring predicts could close roads and cause power outages from Queenstown and Dunedin.
By July 26 more heavy snow falling to low levels could affect Queenstown and Dunedin airports, and a further cold blast on July 29 could bring snow to sea-level in Southland and Otago.
More isolated snow falls are predicted throughout early and mid-August and September and right into September and October, which brought "a possibility of many lambs being lost in the freezing weather," Ring's predictions state.
Queenstown's own veteran weather forecaster David Crow said he did not predict weather more than a week in advance, but that the long, dry summer had resulted in a below-normal net rainfall for this year.
"We had a big downfall at the start of the year, and have had a little bit lately, but are overall down on usual rainfall, so if those precipitation levels equal out in winter we could very well have some heavy snowfalls."
The Southland Times