Warning: frosts about to bite

The worst of the snow is over but sub-zero temperatures are expected in Otago at the weekend, bringing the risk of widespread black ice.

Conditions in Otago are expected to remain cold today, with coastal rain and snow showers inland, although nowhere near the severity of yesterday, MetService forecaster Richard Finnie said.

Conditions will start to clear tomorrow as a ridge moves across the southern South Island. That would mean hard frosts, with black ice possible tomorrow night and Sunday morning, he said.

''On Saturday night, there will be sub-zero conditions everywhere - -6degC on the Taieri and I wouldn't be surprised if it hits -10degC inland in some places.''

The frosts would come on top of five days' rain along the coast.

Dunedin man John Bradley, who records weather data for Niwa, said 211.4mm had fallen in Balaclava, breaking his 37-year June record of 183.5mm in 1980.

''We are just 34mm short of the 12-month individual record.''

In comparison, Niwa's Musselburgh station had only recorded 129mm, less than the site's top three June levels.

However, Alexandra, Cromwell and Ranfurly had all broken their June rainfall records.

Hydrologist Dave Stewart, of Dunedin, said easterly weather systems had been influencing Dunedin's weather for the past five or six weeks, bringing rain with it.

This was on top of last month's high rainfalls in the city, 119.3mm, and 116.6mm at the airport.

''It's been pretty wet the last two months.''

Heavier rainfalls had been recorded in the city, such as 168mm in May 2009 and 160mm in May 2010 at Musselburgh.

The southerly had arrived, but coming slightly from the east, so the city did not get the predicted snow.

He expected the easterly influence would end soon, allowing fine, frosty weather to return. Otago Regional Council environmental information and science director John Threlfall said the rain was now running off saturated land and into rivers, which had dropped enough to be able to cope.

''It'll keep them topped up and running high for a little longer.''

After five days' rain, Dunedin seemed to be over the worst, he said.


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