Spring snow set to hit South Island

South Island skiers could be in for a perfect finish to the 2012 season tomorrow with the weather forecast to be fine and a fresh dumping of spring snow overnight.

The Coronet Peak, Cardrona and Remarkables ski areas are due to close tomorrow, while the season has been extended until October 14 at Mt Hutt due to favourable conditions there.

According to their respective websites, Cardrona currently has an an upper-mountain snow depth of 115cm, the Remarkables 80cm, Coronet Peak 80cm and Mt Hutt 210cm.

Metservice forecaster Erick Brenstrum said there were snow showers over much of the lower South Island today, affecting roads including Arthur's Pass, Milford Rd, Lewis Pass, and other high-alpine roads across the country.

There could even be some snow on the North Island's Desert Rd later today, he said.

Tomorrow, a ridge of high pressure is forecast to arrive, bringing sunshine to much of the country.

The rain is expected to return to much of the North Island and the top of the South Island on Monday.

Meanwhile, spring stormed into New Zealand with strong winds and rain battering the west coast of both islands while eastern regions were cloaked in sunshine.

NIWA's September National Climate Summary reported westerly winds lashed the country bringing wet weather to the South Island's West Coast, Southland and Central Otago as well as drenching an already sodden Nelson region.

But above the east coast of both islands clear blue skies ushered in a dry, warm change of season with temperatures soaring to a balmy 25.5C in Waiau and sunshine hours up 125 percent on average.

Despite the extremely sunny start to spring eastern district temperatures were close to the month's average, according to NIWA.

The average temperature in September was 10.8 celsius with a cold snap midway through the month setting record or near-record lows throughout the country.

Saturated southern regions and eastern parts of Northland received more than one and a half times the normal rainfall for September.

Milford Sound recorded the nation's highest rainfall for a single day with 165mm falling on September 14.

And when it came to the country's main cities Christchurch was the driest and coolest; Wellington the sunniest, Hamilton the cloudiest, Tauranga the warmest, and Auckland the wettest.

However, prospects are positive.

Weatherwatch's Philip Duncan said weather patterns were showing a weak El Nino emerging which would mean the prospect of summer reaching our shores in time for Christmas.

- APNZ with Herald on Sunday

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