Holiday ends in dusting of snow

19:58, Oct 22 2012
Labour weekend snow
BLANKETED: Lake Tekapo gets an unusually late flurry of snow on Labour Day.
Labour weekend snow
SPRING CHILL: Parts of South Canterbury received a dusting of snow during the holiday weekend.
Labour weekend snow
WINTRY LAND: There was snow as far as the eye could see at Burkes Pass on Monday, October 22, 2012.
Labour weekend snow
FRIENDLY WELCOME: A snowman greets drivers from the side of the road near Burkes Pass.

Labour Weekend in South Canterbury was capped off with a cold blast and snow in some areas after an otherwise balmy spell.

Snow fell in some parts of the region, with about 75 millimetres in both Tekapo and Cricklewood yesterday, with the last of the flurries just before midday, thanks to a cold front coming from the Southern Ocean.

However, as of last night, all the main highways were open.

october snow
SPRING SPRINKLING: Parts of South Canterbury received an unseasonal snowfall during the holiday weekend.

Meanwhile, in Timaru, temperatures ranged from a relatively balmy 20 degrees Celsius at Richard Pearse Airport on Sunday, to a low of 2C yesterday.

A MetService spokesman said conditions should calm down by this afternoon, as a ridge of pressure from the Tasman Sea turned into a northwesterly, although another cold snap is expected on Thursday.

Fairlie farmer Ryan O'Sullivan said the snow was less of an issue than the overall spate of cold weather during the past month.


"It's restricted feed levels. The chilling effect will also delay the arrival of a good spring flush," he said.

Lake Tekapo holiday park manager Graeme Pepper said that although it might have put a dampener on some people's long weekend, the snow did not stick around for long. "We got a few flurries but they were all on the Monday, when people were driving home. It was gone by about 2pm," he said.

"Mostly, it's been a really busy Labour Weekend; we've been at full capacity, which means about 400 people on the site."

Several thousand people travelled out to the lakes for the long weekend. Staff at Lake Ruataniwha Holiday Park reported the snow did not fall in the town of Twizel but the hills received a good covering.

Constable Brent Swanson, of Lake Tekapo, said drivers were well behaved on the way back from the long weekend.

However, the final section of the three-day "Hard Labour" event - the 90-kilometre cycle around the canal routes - had to be cancelled, due to the conditions. Organiser Dean Nelson said it was a disappointing end, after the big turnout on the previous two days.

"We got about 240 people on the Saturday, and 300 on the Sunday, which were both up on previous years," he said.

"Once you factored in the wind-chill, we would've been looking at sub-zero temperatures [yesterday].

"It just wouldn't have been worth the risk."

The Timaru Herald