Parts of New Zealand’s South Island were treated to “stunning” frosted mountains this week after a “good dump” of snow blasted northern areas. And, looking ahead, another “significant snow event” is expected early next week.
The sight of snow on the hills towards Picton and the Richmond Ranges was “just stunning,” said Blenheim local Pam Wood.
“[I was] thinking ‘my goodness, that is something I have never seen before and I doubt I’ll see for a very long time,” said Wood. “We’ve obviously seen dustings on Mt Roberts and dustings on Mt Riley and around the Richmond Ranges but I’ve never seen it down low above Havelock like that.”
The National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (Niwa) confirms that “considerable snowfall” has indeed accumulated in the region this week.
Niwa said the nearest weather station, located around 30km southwest of St Arnaud, received about half a metre of snow on Wednesday, pushing yearly totals to 104% of normal.
“We’ve got a low pressure system and there’s some system fronts in there, and all you basically need is moisture and for it to be dragged up over the hills and for it to be cold enough and you’ve got snow.”
These late-season accumulations are fast making-up for has so far been a relatively snowless winter across NZ’s South Island — up until just a few days ago, some Niwa stations were showing snow at or around 50% of normal:
However, this lack of powder hasn’t been the fault of the temperature –it has certainly been cold enough for snow– and is instead due to a lack of moisture in the air. As Niwa snow experts Dr Christian Zammit and Dr Jono Conway explain: while the early part of the season was fairly typical, the snow then dried up; and while frigid temperatures in early-August would have been ideal for snow-making, there was no precipitation at that time.
“Some flurries” continued into Thursday and Friday, reports Niwa, but conditions over the weekend are set to be “dry and settled”.
However, looking forward, the agency is keeping a close eye on next week’s developments with their models currently forecasting another “significant snow event” for Tues, Sept 1.
Stay tuned for updates.
Even NASA appears to agree, if you read between the lines, with their forecast for this upcoming solar cycle (25) seeing it as “the weakest of the past 200 years,” with the agency correlating previous solar shutdowns to prolonged periods of global cooling here.
Prepare for the COLD— learn the facts, relocate if need be, and grow your own.
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Grand Solar Minimum + Pole Shift