November 29, 2023

Short sharp snowfall chills lower South Island

Most of the lower South Island woke to snow on Friday.

Most of the lower South Island woke to snow on Friday. It was short, sharp, cold and unusual for this time of year.

From a sprinkle in Dunedin to a blizzard further south, at least one school was snowed out and several roads closed.

The snow of midwinter dreams arrived just a month before summer.

“It’s hard to believe yesterday morning was 20C and they were like ‘we’re going to have snow tomorrow’ so it’s quite weird,” said Lee Stream School Principal Kate Martin.

Lee Stream School was snowed out, its 13 students staying home for the day.

“With the road only being open to four-wheel-drives we can’t run our bus. I’ve just popped out to check our chooks in our chicken coop are OK and warm,” Martin said.

And to pick up Cedric Piggery – a small pig.

“We’re going home to rest in front of the fire, he wanted to get out of the snow,” Martin added.

Dark clouds loomed above, blocking sunlight and any warmth. It was an icy 0C in Lee Stream with a forecast high of 4C. But a bitterly cold wind cutting through made it feel so much colder.

Further south, Queenstown received a healthy dose of snow, and Aoraki Mt Cook Village got up to 10cm.

Closer to Dunedin City in Halfway Bush things were still white – but not so intense.

“It’s pretty light, at least it’s not as bad as they were going on about yesterday,” one person told Newshub.

But just heavy enough for some before-school fun.

“We never thought it would happen in October,” another person said

Thankfully most farmers are done with lambing, and they’re old enough now to enjoy the snow that’s fast-melting as more traditional temperatures return ahead of the last month of spring.

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