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  • Writer's pictureBen Waterworth

Southland snows and glows

Updated: Oct 31, 2021

Widespread snow days, road closures, and glowing skies came in quick succession as snow fell to sea level in Southland earlier this week.

On Sunday, Southlanders witnesed the first covering of snow for the season, which impacted transport, schooling, and farming.

Several state highways were closed Monday morning, with more than 70 schools and early childhood services closed across Otago-Southland.


First year SIT students experience snow for the very first time. (From left) Jemimah Jongkind, Hayley Dyson, Zara Wills, Renee Beazley and Sarah Bramhall

Federated Farmers Southland president Geoffrey Young said dairy farmers would have felt the impacts of the weather most since they were in the middle of calving, and there had been a few calf losses as a result of the cold.

In Invercargill, the weather was a particularly exciting time for a group of first year SIT students, who flocked to Queens Park to make the most of the day, saying it was the first time they had ever seen snow before.

There were a few weatherrelated incidents in the city, with a few minor traffic accidents and flights in and out of Invercargill Airport cancelled for the day due to the conditions.

The skies made way for a strong showing of the Aurora Australis on Monday night.

Photographers, stargazers, and anyone else who had a clear, unlit view towards the south were treated to a light show so strong that it was even visible to the naked eye along the shores of Lake Te Anau.


The Damasceno family enjoying the snow in Queens Park. (From left) Davi, Leao, Bruna and Mariana

On Tuesday, Environment Southland activated its flood warning as snow melt and recent rainfall had caused some rivers, particularly in the lower catchments, to rise. That warning has since been turned off, however some rivers may remain high over the next couple of days.

Weather forecasts for the weekend and early next week show that bad weather will make its return over much of the country.

45S Weather Services manager Andy Frasier said Southland’s weather would become unsettled again heading into the weekend as another low came in towards the country.

“Winter’s far from over yet.”

This article was originally written for The Advocate. You can read the published version here

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