Snow a late Christmas present for Mt Hutt

NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Wednesday, 27 December 2017, 2:27PM
Wintry weather has hit the South Island in the height of summer. (Photo / Leanne Bright)
Wintry weather has hit the South Island in the height of summer. (Photo / Leanne Bright)

Snow is set to fall on the middle of the North Island tomorrow when the Tongariro Crossing is expected to bear the brunt of the unseasonal white out.

Snow is already falling on a Canterbury alpine ski field just a day after parts of the same region basked in record high temperatures.

The weather has taken a distinctly wintry turn in parts of the South Island, where snow started to fall at Mt Hutt on Boxing Day and continues today.

The same icy southerly blast is about to bring a coating to the Central Plateau tomorrow when strong winds and are snow expected on the volcanic peaks and the popular alpine trek during the busy holiday season.

MetService forecaster Cameron Coutts said strong winds would whip through the mountains and the added chill would bring temperatures to a bone-chilling -13C. 
He said the snow would fall during the morning and be contained to the volcanic region.

"We are talking a dusting on the Central Plateau tomorrow. There's quite a low freezing level. People will get to see a bit on the Tongariro Crossing."

He said snow in the Southern Alps and Central Plateau wasn't unheard of in the middle of summer.

Mt Hutt webcams show snow still falling today and clouds shrouding the summit. The temperature has plummeted to just 1C.

A post on the Canterbury skifield's Facebook page joked about the snow falling in the height of summer.

"Who asked for a white Xmas? We received snow today. Sorry for picture quality we have turned off our camera heating as its meant to be summer? " said the post.

A person living near the foothills posted a picture of the snowcapped mountains from Methven on Facebook.

Many commented on the crazy patch of weather that had people sweltering one day and freezing the next.

MetService said the cool southerly winds were keeping temperatures down and Tekapo was close to freezing level today on 1C.

MetService today issued warnings for Gisborne and Hawke's Bay where gales and heavy rain were expected to blast through tomorrow.

Coutts said a low-pressure system was sitting off to the east of the North Island. As it swung closer in the next 24 hours southerly winds would strengthen across most of the island.

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