Strong winds and summer snowfall in New Zealand's Southland

Strong winds and summer snowfall in New Zealand's Southland

Snow was reported on the hills of Southland, New Zealand on Monday morning, January 6, 2020, as a cold snap continued affecting the province in what is now its summer season. MetService issued a warning for strong southwest gales up to 120 km/h (75 mph) for coastal Southland, Clutha, and Stweart Island. "The seasons seem to be a little bit out of whack this year," MetService forecaster Lisa Murray said.

Strong winds on Sunday afternoon, January 5, turned over a camper, injuring a driver and passenger north of Balclutha. Both of the victims received medical treatment and are now recovering.

According to a police spokesperson, trees were knocked down in Charlotte St on the same day, while on Monday, another tree fell on Chaslands Highway, blocking one lane. No damages were reported.

Firefighters received numerous wind-related emergency calls on Monday, including one about a trampoline that was blown onto a neighbor's fence on Kelso Cres, and a blown-over scaffolding on Tay St. Two roofs also needed to be secured on Bamborough St. and on Bill Richardson Drive.

MetService forecaster Lisa Murray said Southland had been stuck in a spring-like weather pattern since mid-November, with westerly winds dumping rain.

"You're not alone. Quite a few places around the country are wondering where summer went-- I know it hasn't been very good in Wellington either," she stated.

The snow on Monday fell at elevations of about 1 500 m (4 921 feet) and above, Murray said, adding it was "cold, but we do get snow sometimes in summer."

In Invercargill, temperatures had been below average. The mean temperature for December was typically 13.1 °C (55.6 °F), but in December 2019, it was 12.5 °C (54.5 °F).

"When you average it out across a month people would notice that. The seasons seem to be a little bit out of whack this year."

Murray added that the forecast for the province was "not looking that great, to be particularly honest."

The following weeks are expected to be colder than average, although locals could see the unusual 25 °C (77 °F) day. "It will be slightly cooler overall."

Featured image credit: NASA Terra/MODIS. Acquired January 7, 2020

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