Farmers warned as snow predicted
Snow is expected to fall in parts of Canterbury from Sunday, putting newborn lambs at risk and disrupting motorists.
Blue Skies forecaster Tony Trewinnard said snow is expected to fall to about 600 metres in Canterbury on Sunday and down to 400m to 500m from Monday to Wednesday.
"Sheep up on the hills will have a cold and damp period from Monday to Wednesday, probably with temperatures in single figures, no sunshine and reasonably strong winds, so there will be a significant wind chill,'' he said.
"It will be raining frequently throughout this period and a stressful time for stock.''
Thousands of lambs could be at risk, with many farmers just beginning lambing.
The pressures of dairying has pushed sheep flocks further inland towards the foothills, where lambing starts later than on the Canterbury Plains.
Farmers with stock at high levels should prepare for snow by making sure they can access their stock and get feed to them.
Motorists are also expected to be affected, with snow likely to fall on the alpine passes.
The snowfall is not expected to affect most of the Canterbury Plains or Christchurch, but those areas will get wet, with about 100 millimetres of rain expected to fall between Sunday and Wednesday.
The heaviest falls were likely to hit the region on Tuesday and Wednesday before skies started to clear on Thursday, Trewinnard said.
Canterbury was already "very wet'' from rain this week, and he warned people to prepare for more rain.
The weather for tomorrow and Saturday was expected to be fine, giving people an "opportunity to prepare and make whatever precautions they need to do'', he said.
Most Canterbury ski fields remain open, although many require motorists to use chains or four-wheel-drive vehicles to access the mountains.
The Mt Lyford, Hanmer Springs, Fox Peak and Temple Basin skifields are closed, and skiers are advised to check skifield conditions before leaving home.