Heavy snow has closed roads and taken names across mountainous regions of NZ’s South Island, with reports of motorists being left stranded in their cars overnight. While at lower elevations, torrential rains have deluged the Canterbury Plains, flooding areas in and around Christchurch.
Snow and whiteout conditions forced the closure of both Lewis Pass and Arthur’s Pass on Saturday, effectively cutting off Canterbury and the surrounding areas from the West Coast.
In addition, regions around Lake Tekapo were blanketed with thick snow over the Queen’s Birthday Weekend, while Oxford near Christchurch also received a healthy covering.
All that powder created an “exceptional” weekend for skiers visiting the South Island’s mountains.
“We have been very lucky that mother nature delivered snow overnight,” said Whakapapa General Manager, Jono Dean, referring to the recent heavy dumping received at Mt Ruapehu — a ski area that doesn’t normally receive natural snowfall, with slopes usually wholly dependent on snowmaking.
Treble Cone, the largest Ski Area in the South Island, reported a healthy 19.7 inches (50 cm).
While 2 feet (60.1 cm) fell at Mount Hutt, 80km (50 miles) west of the Canterbury Plains.
And there’s more to come this week.
New Zealand’s next Polar blast is already en-route, currently tearing across the Tasman Sea — it looks set to arrive on Wednesday, likely bringing with it even higher snow-totals.
Stay tuned for updates.
The cold times are returning, as our star enters its next Grand Solar Minimum cycle:
Grand Solar Minimum + Pole Shift