Midsummer snow in the South

Snow fell near Dunedin and other parts of the South Island reached near freezing temperature last night as a midsummer cold snap makes its way up the country, the website WeatherWatch says.

Queenstown's mountains received a dumping last night, despite temperatures reaching more than 7degC earlier in the week.  Temperatures plummeted overnight, with the Remarkables skifield recording 5cm of new powder and at least 0cm at Coronet Peak.

Unofficial recordings put the temperature in the Teviot Valley at a very unsummery 3 deg late last night, and a slightly warmer 5 deg at 7am.

Margery and Brian Deaker, of the Waitaki Valley in north Otago, said it was a cool 4 deg at their house at 7am.

Residents in Naseby reported 7-8cm of snow lying on the ground this morning, and Ranfurly, Wedderburn, Omakau and Oturehua received 6-8cm.

However, sun this morning hastened the thaw. The roads were all clear, aside from Danseys Pass Rd, which was closed for much of the day but has now reopened. 

According to a WeatherWatch reader it also snowed at Lake Mahinerangi, 35km west of Dunedin.

Rainfall was heavy overnight, with Dunedin recording about 19mm of rain in the five hours to 9pm yesterday, the most rain in one event for more than a month.

Queenstown also had heavy rain, with 14.4mm recorded in the two hours to 9pm.

Christchurch fell to just 4 degrees overnight and some inland areas came even closer to freezing as the wintry snap moved through.

The cold reached Blenheim this morning, with the temperature falling from 18 deg at 5am to 9 deg at 7am.

Kaikoura went from 17 deg at 2am to 6 deg at 5am. Timaru, which had a high of 27 deg yesterday, fell to only 3 deg overnight.

WeatherWatch head analyst Philip Duncan said the weather system also reached Wellington this morning and would continue making its way north today, reaching Auckland and Northland this afternoon and evening.

It made its presence felt in Napier, forcing the New Zealand and Zimbabwe cricketers from the field on the second day of their test there. 

Mr Duncan said the reason behind the cold snap might surprise some weather-watchers.

"We usually think of highs, or anticyclones, as our summer friends that bring hot, sunny, beach weather, but the truth is that a high can also contribute significantly to cold snaps and this is what we're seeing today.''

But the summer weather would return this weekend.

"The good thing about a high that creates a cold southerly like this is that it then comes in the next day and pushes the bad stuff out east over the Pacific Ocean. This weekend we'll see a high rolling in bringing clear skies and lighter winds, but it will be cold to start with,'' Mr Duncan said.

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