The first day of spring was an unusually cold one up and down New Zealand’s South Island as temperatures plummeted and snow blanketed many regions.
Snowfall was widespread and accumulated at abnormally low-levels, according to MetService meteorologist Peter Little, with inland parts of Canterbury and Otago seeing 5+cm (2+inches) settling early Tuesday.
Ashburton, Timaru, Temuka, Fairlie and surrounding areas received flurries down to as low as 100m (328 ft):
While Southland, north of Gore; eastern and southern parts of Fiordland; and Clutha, north of Tapanui also received widespread snowfall, with some areas expecting accumulations to exceed 15cm (5.9 inches) before the day is out.
Coastal areas to the south are also expecting rare settling snow.
While ski-fields woke this morning to healthy drifts–a little too healthy in parts, with a few fields actually forced to close due to the snowstorm and accompanying winds.
Coronet Peak had 20+cm (7.9+ inches) of fresh snow at the base and more than 40cm (1.31 feet) at the top (so far). Cardrona and Treble Cone in Wānaka also reported 20cm (7.9 inches) of fresh powder.
Canterbury’s Mt Hutt and Porters skifields both closed their doors on Tuesday. About 4cm (1.6 inches) of snow was falling per hour and almost 30cm (1 foot) fell on the mountain in the 24 hours to 11am, according to the Mt Hutt website. Porters was officially reporting about 55cm (1.8 ft) of global warming goodness on the mountain.
The snowfall prompted the Mountain Safety Council to issue a warning about avalanches.
South Islanders can expect a “bitterly cold” Tuesday as a cold front “significantly” dropped temperatures overnight, said Little, with the mercury holding as much as 10C below the seasonal average until at least Thursday.
In Christchurch, temps dipped to 3C (37.4F) by 10am. Ashburton, Timaru, Queenstown and Wānaka all recorded unseasonable spring lows of 2C (35.6F), while Dunedin sat at 5C (41F), reports stuff.co.nz.
Mackenzie Country’s overnight temperatures are expected to plummet -6C (21.2F). Extra care is advised if you’re out on the roads.
In addition to providing the slopes with great skiing conditions, the snowstorms have also helped fire crews battling a blaze near Mt Cook National Park.
As reported by stuff.co.nz, Mackenzie District Council emergency manager Chris Clarke said the “urgency and danger” was now out of the situation because the wind had “completely gone” and rain and snow had hit the area.
Swings-between-extremes are becoming our new climate normal as low solar activity continues to weaken the jet stream, reverting its usual tight ZONAL flow to more of a wavy MERIDIONAL one:
And even our pals at NASA appear 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