Queenstown in summer snow

November 26 2018 by Lauren Prebble

If we cast our minds back to this time last year, we were enjoying scorching hot spring days. So HOT that Lake Wakatipu was swim-able! But if bring ourselves to the present... ugh... rain... snow... what’s going on?! This bad weather is really getting the locals down. Robert Kerr from MetService NZ shares the details of Queenstown’s weather forecast, over the phone.

“The bad weather system the region experienced last week will peter out,” he says, “so Queenstown will have a drier week with the next couple of days being fine.” (Yay). “BUT, a similar weather pattern is forming just west of Australia and will move east to literally rain on our parade over the weekend.” (Sob). Rob informs me that there will be periods of wet weather for the next two weeks and warns that we might get flooding in areas. But why the snow?! A freak snow storm is to be expected in early spring, but it is unusual to get one this late. This November’s average temperatures have been cooler than previous years due to a large, low pressure system that’s causing ‘unsettled weather’ – but there is warm moisture from the tropics cushioning this cold.

Gardeners are no doubt stressing about their newly planted seedlings getting absolutely pummelled by snow. Sam Taylor from Shotover Garden Centre offers some comfort by saying that getting those plants in the ground was still the right thing to do… unless you planted chilli peppers and capsicums – they like it hot – keep them indoors. A bit of snow on the crop isn’t going to freeze your toms to death (but there’s a chance it’ll squish them to death). In fact, snow provides a warming ‘igloo effect’ for your seedlings, it’s the heavy frosts which are the plant killers! Sam advises giving your seedlings a helping hand by putting a protective plastic cloche over top to act as a miniature greenhouse.

There’s been gossip about a predicted summer heatwave this year brought on by El Niño, which seems to be forming in the Pacific. This could mean the east coast is dryer and the west coast is significantly wetter than usual. The other bit I didn’t like was that December could be cooler. Not good news! Robert Kerr couldn’t comment on whether we are going to get a beautiful summer like ’17 (it’s too early to predict that accurately), but Sam from Shotover Garden Centre is hopeful. Hang in their Queenstowners!

Lauren Prebble

- Lauren Prebble
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