Woollies get another airing as chill descends

By Don Farmer, don.farmer@age.co.nz

Spring's last hurrah took Wairarapa by surprise yesterday and left many searching through winter wardrobes for warmer clothing.

Yesterday's southerly burst brought heavy, cold showers to Masterton about lunchtime, scattered light hail to some parts of the district in mid-afternoon and reported very light snowdrifts to far reaches of North Wairarapa.

Snow flurries were unlikely to pose any problem and any snow that made its way to ground was expected to quickly disappear due to soil warmth.

The MetService is confident the brief biting cold would die away, only to be replaced by high and possibly damaging winds that could gust to 140km/h in parts of the district and in Tararua.

Forecasters were expecting the wind to pose the biggest problem with strong and gusty northwesterlies building through today to gale and possible severe gales overnight and most of Sunday.

A front was not imminent but nevertheless was expected to make its way onto the lower North Island bring some rain.

The MetService has described the weather pattern in the dying days of spring as not being unusual.

Turbulent, bouncy weather is regarded by forecasters as being normal as summer approaches.

Frosts were unlikely in the next few nights although forecasters warned if the winds dropped and cloud cover disappeared overnight some light frosts could settle in protected areas.

Showers yesterday were of no help to farmers outside of the greenbelt with many properties badly needing rain.

The drying out of pasture land has followed a wetter-than-normal winter and is the result of sweeping north westerlies that have been negating any value from spasmodic rainfall.

As a result many farmers who have locked up paddocks for hay and silage are despairing of meagre grass growth and may be forced to buy in supplementary fodder.


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