Foretaste of winter over Southern New Zealand on Friday

Thursday 17 April 2008, 4:42PM

By Metservice



MetService meteorologists have issued a Special Weather Advisory for southern Fiordland, Southland and Otago regarding a wintry blast on Friday.

"This cold southerly blast is coming in straight from the Southern Ocean and is likely to bring a foretaste of winter", commented MetService Weather Ambassador, Bob McDavitt. "A cold front is forecast to pass across southern New Zealand overnight on Thursday, bringing strong southwest winds, squally showers and hail to the Southern Alps and southern districts."

By Friday evening, snow showers are likely to lower to 600 metres in southern Fiordland, Southland, Otago as far north as Lake Wakatipu, and the Dunedin hills. Because of the warmth of the ground not much snow is expected to settle away from the mountains, but in the Catlins there is the potential for 10 cm of snow to accumulate above 600 metres.

"This is the first time this year air from the deep Southern Ocean has reached New Zealand and it may come as a shock to the system, added Mr.McDavitt. "Motorists may find driving conditions slippery, as hail is likely, and sleet or snow on higher roads such as the Milford Road and possibly the northern motorway from Dunedin.

Winds will probably reach gale force in exposed areas on Friday,especially in eastern Southland and south Otago. The combination of strong winds,chilly temperatures and wintry showers will be hard on stock in the open.

Latest weather updates covering this chilly outbreak are on the MetService website.