Winter chill hits Western Bay

By Amy McGillivray news@bayofplentytimes.co.nz


The cold snap hit the Western Bay yesterday and had the potential to deliver a dusting of snow to the peaks of the Kaimai Ranges this morning.

Weather Watch analyst Philip Duncan said forecasters were not expecting huge amounts "but the risk is there".

"The wind's picking up, which will be the main thrust (Friday). The Bay of Plenty is probably the most sheltered region in the country from this storm as far as rain and cloud," he told the Bay of Plenty Times.

He expected the Central Plateau would get a good snow dumping, with the remnants possibly landing on the Kaimais.

For the most part, the Western Bay was likely to be sunny but cold and windy, he said.

A healthy dose of snow across the country is just what some Western Bay retailers have been hoping for.

Spring St Nevada Surf and Skate assistant manager Laura Keenleyfide said yesterday's brisk weather caused a surge in jacket sales.

She expected business would pick up with the opening of Turoa and Whakapapa ski-fields and the Ohakune Mardi Gras on June 29.

Katikati resident Sara Lewis was at Tauranga Macpac yesterday, buying a puffer jacket to keep her warm during winter at Otago University.

"It's sleeted once already. It's really chilly down there at the moment."

Mount Surf Shop owner Redge Spiers said business had been busy for the past week, with people buying snow gear and wetsuits.

"Last week it picked up with the surf and the cold weather, and now with the snow hitting the mountains people are coming in for snow gear," he said.

Backdoor Surf Shop co-owner Cameron Cutmore said the warm weather had meant a slow start to winter sales. "It has made retail challenging."

Other retailers he had been speaking to had also found the start of winter tougher than normal, he said.

"I'm expecting that if we can have a sustained period of some colder weather, and people feel that the seasons have changed, that will make a difference," Mr Cutmore said. "If we can get some good snow happening, which has been happening for the last couple of days, that will help."

But the chill may not last long. The weather for the weekend was likely to be sunny with a cold southerly, before temperatures climbed a little on Monday, forecasters said.

The highs this weekend were likely to be about 12C but feel like 9C, and the overnight lows would sit about 3C.

Bay of Plenty Federated Farmers vice-president John Scrimgeour said farmers were happy the weather had been mild until now but the cold snap would not have much effect on the animals.

Tauranga City Council and Western Bay of Plenty District Council said they would monitor the weather so any issues could be dealt with quickly.


Forecast


Friday

High 12C, Low 4C

Morning showers clear then sunny spells increase, cold southwesterlies

Saturday

High 13C, Low 3C

Sunny with southwesterly breezes, late cloud

Sunday

High 13C, Low 4C

Becoming sunny again in the morning, southwest breezes

Monday

High 13C, Low 6C

Mostly sunny with westerly breezes

- BAY OF PLENTY TIMES

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