Rug up wintry blast heads our way

By MORGAN TAIT


Weather watchers recommend Hawke's Bay residents "keep a warm coat handy" today as a wintry blast heads north, bringing rain, snow and frosts to the region.

Farmers and growers were being warned temperatures were expected to drop today as the region was brushed by an icy weather system expected to bring snow, frost and driving rain.

MetService meteorologist Daniel Corbett said residents should keep warm and motorists check roading reports before travelling.

"There is quite a wintry blast heading up from the south across New Zealand in the next couple of days," he said. "And you're going to get the edges of it.

"You could see some frost as we go into tonight and tomorrow night, and the temperature over much of Hawke's Bay is expected to drop close to freezing.

"People will say 'what on earth is going on?' because it has been so mild, but that's the mild period before what is going to come through," Mr Corbett said.

Temperatures would dip into single figures and the spring chill would bring surprises in the Ruahine and Tararua Ranges.

"For people waking up on Wednesday morning, don't be surprised that you may say "oh, what's that?' and see the snow level get down to a couple of hundred metres."

Showers were also expected later today, as the temperatures fell up to 14 degrees. "It will be a cold, frosty start to Wednesday at about 10 to 11 degrees, it will be back to dry, fine weather but it will just be colder," Mr Corbett said.

Federated Farmers National and Hawke's Bay President Bruce Wills said all members in the storm's path had been warned to watch out for the last kick of winter.

"Our member advisory warning has been sent about what is coming through, but I don't see this as particularly serious for Hawke's Bay," Mr Wills said.

Newborn lambs would need to be moved to sheltered paddocks, which can be troublesome this time of year.

"The most vulnerable stock is the youngest stock, and it is not always possible to move them this time of year when they are so young.

"Farmers know they need to just move stock to north facing paddocks with good shelter and making sure they are well fed," he said.

Hawke's Bay Fruitgrowers Association president Leon Stallard said the frost was concerning.

"The season is running about a week to 10 days earlier than last year, and you don't want frosts at this time of year," he said.

"With the wind, because there is no fruit on the tree at this stage it's not causing any damage to the crop at all, other than trying to work in it ... and it might upset the bees."

Mr Corbett said the weather should improve by the end of the week. It should be back to a nor'west wind, which meant back to warmth and sunshine, although it looked like rain for the weekend."

- HAWKES BAY TODAY

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