Christchurch wakes to snow, shake

02:13, May 31 2013
Matt Dryden and Ben Musson
CROSS-COUNTRY CHAMPION: Senior boys winner Ben Musson, of Papanui, pictured at the rear, with Matt Dryden, of Catholic Cathedral, in front.
Snow on Dyers Pass Rd
CAREFUL COMMUTE: Dyers Pass Rd has reopened this morning after being closed overnight.
Snow glistens on Port Hills
GLEAMING: Sun shines on the Port Hills during a brief break in the snow storm on Tuesday afternoon.
Ominous clouds over Christchurch
OMINOUS: Storm clouds gather over Christchurch on Tuesday.
Sugarloaf in the snow
SUGARLOAF: Skies clear briefly yesterday afternoon to show the snow dusting across the Port Hills.
Halswell cross country runners in sleet
DRIVING HARD: Runners battle the elements at Halswell Quarry during yesterday's secondary school cross country championships.
Boys' High students waiting in the sleet
SHIVERING: Boys' High pupils shiver at the annual Christ's College vs Christchurch Boys' High School rugby game at Rugby Park yesterday.
Fresh snow at Mt Hutt
GROOMING: About 15 centimetres of new snow fell at Mt Hutt skifield on Monday night.
Fresh snow at Mt Hutt
SNOW MAKING: Machines were in action at Mt Hutt skifield yesterday with temperatures sitting at -8 degrees Celsius.
Port Hills dusted with snow
PRETTY AS A PICTURE: Port Hills dusted with snow yesterday morning.
Snow in Little Akaloa Rd
COVERED: Snow in Little Akaloa Rd on Tuesday.
Snow in Christchurch
WHITE OUT: Snow on the Canterbury foothills on Tuesday, as seen from Press House in Gloucester St.
Rapaki Rd resident Shaun Campbell
SHOVELLING: Rapaki Rd resident Shaun Campbell clears his driveway on Wednesday morning.
Melaina Targett
THE SAFE OPTION: Rapaki resident Melaina Targett walks down the hill.
Snow in Christchurch
SNOW AND ROADWORKS: Christchurch ... so pretty and yet so not.
Christchurch family walks to school in the snow
CAREFULLY DOES IT: Michael Heinzel and his children, Rosalie and Ferdinand Defregger use ski poles to walk to school through the snow on Centaurus Road.
Sign of the Kiwi in the snow
HISTORIC SCENE: The Sign of the Kiwi sits atop Cashmere Hill surrounded by snow.
Sugarloaf on Christchurch's Port Hills
WHITE-OUT: Sugarloaf stands out clearly from the snow coating Christchurch's Port Hills.

A small earthquake woke some residents today as snow blanketed homes and streets across Christchurch and the Port Hills.

The magnitude-3.5 quake hit at 6.54am, at eight kilometres deep, and was centred just east of the central city, early GeoNet reports said.

In Christchurch, many residents in the southern suburbs woke to snowy gardens and driveways, with driving conditions challenging on the Port Hills.

Snow falls in Caversham, Dunedin.
Young Joshua gets an early-morning taste of winter.
A snow-covered Dunedin as seen from Lianne Atkinson's student flat at 7.30am and 8.05am.
Dark clouds hang over Dunedin after the overnight snow flurry.
Residents in Dunedin will need a few extra layers in the wake of the snow.
The view from Dunedin's Saddle Hill.
Another chilly view in Dunedin.
Snow falls heavily in Kaitoke, Upper Hutt.
Snow falls in Queenstown.
A snowy Sommerville St in Dunedin.
A frigid Broomlea St in Wakari, Dunedin.
A frigid Broomlea St in Wakari, Dunedin.
Snow settles around State Highway 88, between Port Chalmers and Dunedin.
The Rimutaka Hill Rd, north of Wellington, was closed by snow.
More snow falls on Signal Hill in Dunedin.
Grace Hepburn makes the most of the snow on Dunedin's streets.
Linda Brasell looks out of her bedroom window to where her roof landed in Waikato.
This giant Norfolk Pine at Mission Bay was struck by lightning about 8.30am. Debris litters the area and the tree will be cut down.
Dunedin snow
Pyper, 7, and Lucas, 5, make the most of the cold snap to build a snowman at Brockville Park.
Wairarapa snow
Snow dusted Gladstone in the Wairarapa making drivers cautious on Admiral Road.
Snow Desert Road
Gloomy skies and snowy road make for a bleak view on the Desert Road.
Waiouru snow
The road through Waiouru on the evening of May 28.

Sun and rising temperatures will rapidly clear much of the snow, with MetService forecasting four days of sunshine and increasingly warm temperatures.

The weekend will bring temperatures of about 17 degrees Celsius on Saturday and Sunday.

However, rain is forecast for Queen's Birthday Monday.


Snow on Huntsbury
BLANKETED: Port Hills residents have woken to thick snow around their homes.

Last night's storm may be to blame for a leaking roof at Pioneer Stadium that forced a halt to a clash between two of Christchurch's top netball teams, St Nicholas A and Lincoln University A.

Last night's blizzard-like conditions in Christchurch also left several Banks Peninsula roads closed and others restricted to four-wheel-drive vehicles.

This morning was clear but cold, with motorists warned to take care on roads still covered in snow and ice.

Dyers Pass Rd connecting Cashmere to the harbour suburbs was reopened this morning after being closed overnight.

Christchurch Airport is open.

MetService has forecast a high of 11C today, and cold southwesterlies will die out.

Forecaster Mike O'Connor said motorists should take care particularly in sheltered areas.

"The maximum road speeds don't always apply in these conditions. Keep your distance between vehicles and be aware traction may not be as good as it normally is," he said.

Temperatures plummeted to just 2C at Christchurch Airport about 6am yesterday.

The Christchurch City Council is warning motorists to take extreme care on Banks Peninsula with snow and hail turning to slush in many places. Some roads were marked as closed as they have not been fully inspected yet.

The following roads have been closed:

Roads only open to 4WD with chains:

Roads open but drivers are warned of severe ice and grit:

Skifields celebrate early snowfall

Canterbury may have escaped with only a smattering of snow after this week's icy blast, but the region's skifields are revelling in the earliest decent snowfall in years.

Mt Hutt recieved 15 centimetres of new snow, leaving it with a 40cm base on average over the skifield.

Ski area manager James McKenzie said the early dumping was welcome after recent years of ''nail biting'' in the lead-up to the opening date.

''Last year the snow arrived two days before we opened,'' he said.

In 2011, the opening date had to be delayed after a lack of snow.

Porters Ski Area general manager Uli Dinsenbacher said the field had received 10cm to 15cm over the past few days.

Further south, the Queenstown skifields were lapping up the early start to winter.

The polar front left Treble Cone with 40cm of fresh snow and 35 to 40cm at the top, with snow drifts of up to a metre, marketing manager Nick Noble said.

The Remarkables reported over 30cm of new snow and Coronet Peak over 20cm.

However, skifields nestled in the crux of the South Island have missed out on the dump, but are still confident of a good season.

Mt Dobson Ski Field owner-operator Peter Foote said snow in May was ''certainly not normal'', and the field got about 10cm from the storm.

Ohau Snow Field reported 20cm of snow, but owner-operator Mike Neilson said it was mostly ''filling the cracks'' rather than building a base.

Roundhill Ski Area manager Simon Murrell said the skifield near Lake Tekapo had about 8cm of snow.

Skifield opening dates:

Mt Hutt: June 15.

Mt Dobson: Early July.

Porters: June 21.

Treble Cone: June 27.

The Remarkables: June 22.

Coronet Peak: June 8.

Ohau: June 29.

Roundhill: July 6.

The Press