January snow dump blankets Mt Hutt

NICOLE MATHEWSON
Last updated 15:00 09/01/2014

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American visitors Katie Bieber and Lauren Anderson thought they had escaped winter when they came to work on a Canterbury farm for the summer.

Bieber, from Tennessee, and Anderson, from Florida, enjoyed a rare chance to play in summer snow at the top of mid-Canterbury's Mt Hutt today.

Mt Hutt Ski Area manager James McKenzie said the pair were staying in Methven for the summer to work on a local farm and were surprised to see snow had fallen nearby despite being the middle of summer.

Snow was not unusual at Mt Hutt in summer, as southerly winds usually brought some snowflakes every couple of months or so, he said.

''It's quite a big snowfall for January, but usually most years we get some snowfall in summer.''

McKenzie estimated about 6 or 7 centimetres of snow fell on the ski area overnight yesterday, with closer to 10cm at the top of the mountain.

''It won't stick around very long. There's been a few people having a troop up to see and touch the snow and . . . we'll probably get some more tomorrow.''

Metservice forecaster John Law said any further snowfall would happen only at the top of the mountains in Canterbury's high country.

"As we go into the weekend, the freezing level's picking right up to around 3000 metres."

Weather for the wider Canterbury region was looking "pretty decent" over the next couple of days, he said.

A high of 21 degrees Celsius is expected in Christchurch tomorrow, with the mostly fine weather set to continue on Saturday.

However, conditions were forecast to become more unsettled on Sunday, with rain and southwesterlies persisting early next week.

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- The Press

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