A bit of a southerly or “four days of hell”.

The weather forecast is for a bit of a southerly over the next few days in what is usually about the coldest part of winter. It could end up being a but more sustained and snowy than usual. That happens sometimes.

Not that headline writers from Auckland would understand that. NZ Herald:

Four days of hell: worst storm of year bears down on New Zealand

The country is preparing for its worst winter storm of the year with rain, snow and gales set to batter much of New Zealand.

Snow is expected to fall to very low levels in the south of the country with potentially damaging gales, torrential rain and snow lashing the country from Gisborne south.

The Milford Rd is closing at 5pm with significant snow forecast to about 500m by tomorrow morning.

This morning’s forecast is for snow to 200 metres in the South Island. That’s not a big deal, it’s common and doesn’t mean it will settle at that altitude.

Over the next few days it could snow to sea level and settle for a day or two. Snow tends to be fickle and regional – it sounds like inland South Island and Canterbury may cop the worst but that’s uncertain.

A problem with the “four days of hell” headlines is that most people will dismiss it as Auckland bull and go about their lives as per normal for this time of year.

Last week’s forecast snow didn’t happen in most places. That’s more common than actually getting snow.

It could be a bit cool at home, there is a scheduled power cut today. But I’ll go to work as usual, and will probably get home again tonight. I have never been unable to get home because of snow. If it does settle it is more likely to come in the night, and a day or two every year or two I get to have a late start, usually getting out by mid morning.

Every few years we get a day or two where we get ‘snowed in” for a day – usually not badly but it is simply unwise to travel unless you really need to. Things can go on a hold for a day without much problem.

This winter southerly could be worse, it sounds likely to be in some areas, but Metservice is still only forecasting sleet in Dunedin, which looks nice but doesn’t cause any problems.

Some of the highest hill suburbs may get a dump and higher roads are likely to be affected – media will find a road somewhere with some snow on it.

But we will carry on as usual for winter and see what happens without getting too excited about it.

Isn’t hell supposed to be hot, not cold?

The latest from Metservice doesn’t sound particularly concerning, it’s fairly normal for a winter southerly:



A cold front will sweep northwards across the South Island during Tuesday. In the wake of this front, snow is forecast to fall in the south and east, with further snow overnight Tuesday and on Wednesday as very cold air aloft moves over the South Island.

Snow is likely to fall as low as 200 or 300 metres at times from Tuesday until Thursday, with significant accumulations for higher elevations. 20 to 30cm, possibly even more, could accumulate on Otago and Canterbury high country stations. This will affect many higher roads, and could cause problems for livestock from Southland to Banks Peninsula.

This Watch is for the likelihood of significant snow accumulations below 500 metres in the following areas…

Southland and Fiordland: From early Tuesday morning till Wednesday afternoon.

Otago: For a time Tuesday morning, and again Tuesday night till Wednesday evening.

Canterbury and Marlborough: From Tuesday evening till Thursday morning.

People in these areas are strongly advised to stay up to date with the latest forecasts and warnings, as this event unfolds. Road snowfalls warnings will be in effect and warnings for heavy snow could be issued at a later stage.

This Watch will be reviewed by 10am Tuesday 11 July


  1. Alan Wilkinson

     /  July 11, 2017

    Did a farmstay in the McKenzie country once. Saw a story in the local paper about the farm having no water because of frozen pipes for a week or two. Lady of the farm shrugged it off – gets a bit cold in the winter here sometimes. Just another thing. Herald journos know nothing about.

    • Where I grew up in Central Otago we often had our water pipes frozen up. We used an ice lined water race to clean out teeth in.

      Modern houses built for the hydro project had problems with water pipes in the ceiling (to the water heater header tank) freezing up because ceiling insulation kept the warmth inside the house. Now pipes are also insulated.

      • Kitty Catkin

         /  July 11, 2017

        It was so warm here when I took the dog for a walk that I was almost cooked in my jersey.

        We have had a couple of Claytons’ frosts-very feeble efforts.

        My camellias are lovely-well, one’s a bit ordinary but the other is like a hibiscus. The daisy bush is flowering like mad. I picked a magnolia a couple of weeks ago,

        • Kitty Catkin

           /  July 11, 2017

          Oh dear, I see
          the PDT
          Is here to show
          what we all know-
          that he’s a sad
          and lonely lad.

          Alas, alas, alas,
          he is a silly ass.

  2. Trumpenreich

     /  July 11, 2017

    Here in Auckland, I picked a couple of hibiscus flowers from the garden for the family Sunday get together dinner table.

    Hibiscus flower, native to warm-temperate, subtropical and tropical regions throughout the world.

    • Trumpenreich

       /  July 11, 2017

      Meanwhile in Dunedin:

      • There is no sign of snow on Dunedin so far, not even on the hills. Another overhyped weather non event.

        • Kitty Catkin

           /  July 11, 2017

          We are told every day that it will be heavy rain and/or showers the next day, but it seldom happens at the moment. The 0 temps don’t happen either, so my racing out to cover the plant whose name sounds like crassula was waste of time. Which is nice.

          Possums hve bee marauding what the waxeyes leave of the mandarins on the bird table and having tantrums when there’s not much. They throw the fruitholders to the ground and squash the fruit skins.

          It was light until quite late last night up here.

          • Kitty Catkin

             /  July 11, 2017

            have been

            They haven’t been doing as much clog dancing or football practice on the roof as they sometimes do.

            • Kitty Catkin

               /  July 11, 2017

              The PDT needs to stop eating lemons.

            • Alan Wilkinson

               /  July 11, 2017

              Resisted the temptation to tell him what he should eat instead, Kitty.

  3. Ray

     /  July 11, 2017

    Just started to rain here at 45’S It is snowing on the hills but pretty lightly.

  4. Kitty Catkin

     /  July 11, 2017

    The idea of Hell being cold isn’t new, but it’s a horrible idea-being unbearably cold forever. Ugh.

    A late friend and I were talking about the idea that some people have of Hell being a permanent party, and agreed that it might indeed be one. A horrible, noisy party of the kind where it’s all but impossible to have a conversation without shouting, constant pressure to join in the witless ‘fun’, drunks grabbing one and trying to dance….the party held in an ugly hall with really uncomfortable seats and not enough of them. Nothing to eat but things like those ghastly cheap frozen sausage rolls that are filled with tasteless ???

    And, of course, flickering, bare fluorescent strip lighting that makes everyone look ill.

    • Kitty Catkin

       /  July 11, 2017

      The PDT must have a different idea of fun to mine. I hope that I never have an invitation to any of THEIR parties 😦

  5. Gezza

     /  July 11, 2017

    Dunno if any of you have seen the dashcam or cellcam footage of the landslide in the Ngauanga gorge this afternoon, but that came down at 12.11 pm today. Me and ma came up the gorge on the way back from her lawyers in Lower Hutt at 12.08 pm, missed it by 3 minutes, thank goodness. That would’ve come right across into our lane by the look of it.

    • Alan Wilkinson

       /  July 11, 2017

      Yes, looked nasty. Good escape, G. Pity the poor sods obeying the speed limit that got caught in it.