Mountains under mantle of snow

17:00, Apr 28 2014

Queenstown awoke to snow blanketing surrounding mountains yesterday, affecting some flights from the resort.

The Queenstown Lakes District Council also issued a warning that snow chains were a must for travellers or commuters on the Crown Range between Queenstown and Wanaka.

Remarkables Ski Area manager Ross Lawrence said he had counted eight snowfalls throughout the past summer - the most in his many years on the mountain.

The overnight Sunday dump resulted in a 20-centimetre snowfall for The Remarkables, with thin snowfall visible down to the Skyline complex on Bobs Peak above the resort in the morning.

Queenstown Airport spokeswoman Jen Andrews said flights had been affected.

Of 15 scheduled arrivals at Queenstown Airport yesterday, six were diverted because of strong cross-winds and six departures were cancelled.

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As other parts of the country also experienced inclement weather, the south was set for some better autumn weather.

45S Weather Services manager Andy Fraser said there would still be some drizzle but the cold southeast winds would gradually ease this week.

Despite a heavy dusting of snow on the mountains throughout the region, no severe weather was expected. "When it clears, the mountains may look wintry but it will feel fine," Fraser said.

Tomorrow and Thursday would be fine, and temperatures would remain mild into Saturday, he said. He forecast temperatures to be between 12 and 14 degrees Celsius each day.

However, the nights were expected to be cooler than normal, with some light frost developing tomorrow and Thursday night.

According to metservice.com, there will be overnight temperature as low as 2C.

Low pressure could bring some unsettled weather next week.

The Southland Times