South getting a brief break from bitter wintriness

This weekend is expected to bring a reprieve from the bitterly cold and frosty days which have gripped much of Otago and Southland this week.

But MetService is urging southerners to make the most of it, because more rain and possibly snow may be on the way.

It has been the chilliest week of the winter so far this year, with hoar frosts and temperatures dropping as low as -11degC around Otago and Southland.

The big freeze caused icy roads and many traffic accidents, and schools had to delay opening times.

It even forced Transpower to issue a nationwide warning notice on Thursday morning, advising a risk of insufficient power generation and reserve to meet the country’s demand as people woke and started turning on their heating devices.

Today and tomorrow are expected to be a little more docile.

Showers are expected at times today for much of the region, but tomorrow is expected to be bright and sunny again with north to northwesterly winds.

However, a MetService spokesman said that later tomorrow the winds would turn to cold southerlies and a front would slowly move north across the South Island on Monday.

"A low is expected to develop on this front late Monday as it moves over central New Zealand.

"The front and the low is forecast to remain slow moving across central and northern New Zealand on Tuesday as a ridge develops across the lower South Island.

"On Wednesday, the low is expected to slowly move east across northern New Zealand while the ridge remains slow moving across the lower South Island."

He said the front was expected to bring periods of heavy rain to the western parts of the South Island tomorrow and Monday.

"As the low develops on the front, east to southeast flow is expected to bring periods of heavy rain to eastern areas of the South Island from late Monday."

The rain was expected to continue into Tuesday.

"Cold southerlies following the front on Monday and Tuesday may bring snow down to 500m-600m in parts of southern and eastern South Island, affecting the higher roads and passes.

"However, warning amounts of snow are not expected at this stage," he said.



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