New Year snow on the tops and yet another wet week ahead - there is so far no end in sight to the bad summer weather being experienced on the West Coast.

The very wet spring of 2016 has never really ended and now, almost six weeks into summer - close to the halfway mark - there are anecdotal reports the lakes are several degrees colder than normal.

Continual low cloud has kept the helicopters grounded at the glaciers more than they should be, and some people are still lighting their fires to take the chill off.

Hokitika weather observer Mark Crompton said yet more unsettled westerly conditions could be expected over the next fortnight.


"More typical of an El Nino," Crompton said.

El Nino weather patterns are dreaded on the West Coast, typically bringing continual rain while eastern areas have drought conditions.

A few months ago Niwa had forecast a La Nina for the Coast - the reverse weather pattern that would have seen a sunny, dry summer.

"It's done the opposite," Crompton said. "It's generally gone into an El Nino sort of phase."

A cold front was expected tomorrow and fresh snow on the tops was not out of the question, meaning a dry and sunny weekend, though cold.

"Make the most of it," Crompton said.

The general weather pattern had been cold south-westerlies, a fine day, then back to rain and another front.

However, the weather man said there was still plenty of summer to come.

"February is normally our warmest, and March is only one-tenth of a degree cooler."

However, he conceded that by then most people would be back at work.

West Coast Fish and Game manager Dean Kelly said that if the water temperature was cooler, trophy fishing would not be as good as usual because trout would feed less.

Looking back on 2016, Reefton weather observer Tony Fortune said the early months of the year were warm and muggy, with some high night-time temperatures.

Rainfall was particularly high in May, June and July which kept down the number of frost days, and the average temperature for the year was up.

However, cooler and changeable conditions prevailed during December and had not yet gone away.

Rainfall for the year was 2497mm, well up on 1978mm in 2015, while the Reefton average is 2210. The warmest day was in February when the mercury hit 32degC, just half a degree down on last year.

- Greymouth Star