Satellite image shows extent of snow

Last updated 16:51 07/06/2012
Snow on South Island
SATELLITE VIEW: The South Island seen from space this morning.
Maya Stiven
Debbie Bergin Zoom
GETTING CREATIVE: Maya Stiven makes snowmen in her Beckenham backyard today.
Tina Parkinson Zoom
SNOWY OUTLOOK: A rural snow scene in Glentunnel today.

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From a distance, its easy to see how snow brought so much of mainland life to a standstill.

The blanket of snow that cut power, closed schools and blocked roads in the South Island has been captured in a satellite image this morning.

NIWA scientist Richard Turner said the image taken at 10.48am today showed Canterbury got a "good dumping" of snow to fairly low elevations yesterday.

"You can see the elevation that the snow reached, though there would have been a wee bit of melting by then," he said.

"There is a bit of snow even on the ranges around Nelson, up to the back of Takaka. It just shows the scale of the weather system.

"In the Tasman, there is a lot of clumpy clouds that shows very cold air over a relative warm ocean."

Turner said it was clear on both the east and west of the South Island, suggesting there was southwesterly flow following the storm.

He said geographical features stood out after a snow fall, with rivers and ranges easy to spot in the image.

"It's a nice image, it would have been quite frosty last night, quite cold this morning. There are a lot of things you can see."

The image was captured using data from a sensor flying aboard Nasa's Earth Observing System satellite Terra, and was then received by Niwa's station in Central Otago.

Aquat and Terra passes over New Zealand twice a day - once during the daytime and again at night - at an altitude of 705km.

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