Snow settles on Mt Tarawera

By Shauni James

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Snow was present on Mount Tarawera today.  This photo was taken by Lake Okareka resident Kyle Shaw.
Snow was present on Mount Tarawera today. This photo was taken by Lake Okareka resident Kyle Shaw.

Those who had Mt Tarawera in view today would have seen it hosting what is thought to be the first lot of snow for the year.

The Landing Cafe worker Ratna Jani said she could see snow on the mountain and there had been quite a bit before it started to disappear in the early afternoon.

She said it had also been quite bright and sunny earlier in the day before clouding over.

Metservice forecaster Derek Holland said snow on Mt Tarawera would have been roughly down to a level of 800m today.

However, it was not expected to snow again this week, he said.

White-out conditions at Mt Ruapehu have forced the evacuation of dozens of people from the slopes today.

A blizzard that hit the mountain had dumped stacks of snow on the mountain's Whakapapa and Turoa skifields overnight - and left around 30 people trapped in nearby lodges.

All of the trapped visitors were believed to have all been accounted for.

Snow had closed the Desert Rd, and raised avalanche risk at mountains around the country, with warnings of blizzard-like conditions predicted to hit south of the volcanic plateau today.

As well as the Desert Rd, State Highway 93 from Mataura to Clinton was closed because of snow.

Drivers were also urged to take care on the Napier-Taupo Rd.

Mr Holland said there was some rain last night but today up until 4pm there had been 5.8mm of rain recorded.

He said over the country the weather was going to be "unsettled" this week.

"We are expecting a low to develop in the Tasman Sea on Tuesday and spread into the country later in the week, bringing wet conditions."

Mr Holland said the temperatures throughout this week were still going to be cool, but not as cold as it was today.

- Rotorua Daily Post

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