Every decade has its bad winter.
You can expect snow anytime from April to November on the foot hills and the view from Timaru or Fairlie was looking towards the snow capped Two Thumb Range and Mt Ribbonwood and Fox's Peak nostalgic for many.
North Otago Times, 27 August 1895, Page 3
BAD WINTERS IN THE PAST.
Some one had contributed to the Lyttelton Times recollections of bad winters in the past. He says there was a heavy fall of snow in the early fifties, «hen there was eight inches on the plain at Kirwee, above Rolleston. All the roads were impassable, coal Ll7 per ton, firewood L 9 per cord, in Christchurch. In 1860 there was a general fall of snow all over Canterbury, seven inches or more in Christchurch. Mr Purnell, of Sherwood Downs, was lost in the snow. The frosts killed a very large number of cabbage trees on the plains, especially those west of Ashburton. The Hakateramea river was frozen over, and a bullock dray and team were taken across on the ice. In 1862 there was a heavy fall in the country in the back of Timaru, and Opawa westward ; but as the hill country was then very lightly stocked, there was no great loss of stock. In 1867 a great snowstorm covered most of the hill country with from three to four feet of snow. Mr Matson, of Mount Nessing, and the writer started to get round via Burkes and Hakateramea Passes to visit the back of his run. They got through Burke's Pass easily, but on reaching the foot of the Hakateramea Pass, found it covered with deep snow (this was two months after the storm). They got to the top of the pass, but on looking down, saw nothing but one smooth slope of hard snow. They, however, determined to try it, and found that it carried the horses the whole way down, in many places across gullies with fully 20 feet of snow underneath, while the print of the horses' shoes were barely visible on the frozen surface. The winter of 1868 was also a bad one at Fairlie, some eight inches of snow falling late in June. The sunny sides of the hills, however, cleared quickly, and there was no great loss of stock. After this we had a lot of fine winters until, I think, 1876, when the Mackenzie Plain and back hills experienced a very heavy fall of snow. At one station, Gray's Hills, the hard frost broke all the bedroom jugs, and a vinegar jug at the same place was broken by the frost, leaving the vinegar standing in a mass In 1878 there was a very severe fall of snow. Messrs Smith and Morrison being lost in a snow slide on the Rollesby Range. Since 1878 we have had fairly good winters until the present one, which is far and away the worst we have had since the country has been stocked. Regarding the probable loss of sheep this year, I think very few people realise the state of the Mackenzie Country and the back hills all over Canterbury and Otago. I anticipate the loss in the Mackenzie Country will not be les than 75 per cent, and on many runs the stock will be virtually wiped out.
First recorded snow in the Mackenzie. Last four days and covered the back country with four feet of snow. Augustus Purnell, of Raincliff Station, died from exhaustion and hypothermia on the night of 23rd September 1861. He had been walking all day looking for sheep when night overtook him, though only a short distance from the homestead could not reach it.
Lyttelton Times, 4 September 1861, Page 4
Death from Exposure.—Mr. Augustus Purnell, a gentleman occupying a run within a few miles of Timaru, was frozen to death last Friday night. It appears he went out early in the morning in company with a shepherd on foot to look after sheep, and in returning got tired, and told the shepherd to push forward to the house, get some refreshment, and then return to him with some ; this was within three miles of the house, and the sun still well up. On the shepherd returning he found that Mr. Purnell had lain down, and on attempting to rise found himself unable to stand; the shepherd then tried to carry him, but was unable to do so. He then started back for the house—(and in crossing an intermediate creek was swept a few yards down from the waters having swollen in the meantime) —to try and catch a horse, but could not, for, unfortunately, in consequence of the snow, the horses had been let loose. Night coming on he could do no more, and on proceeding at daylight the next morning to the spot he found the unfortunate gentleman a corpse. The body was expected to arrive in Timaru on Saturday, when an inquest was to be held.
Sept. 25. The body was brought into Timaru, and interred in the cemetery on the Saturday, (Friday, 31 May 1861) having been followed to the grave by all the leading residents in the district. The deceased gentleman was 26 years of age. The jury returned a verdict of "Died from exhaustion and exposure to cold." [wife Mary interred 28 November 1866]
Grey River Argus, 17 July 1918, Page 2
Mr. J. R. Stansell, of Lyall Bay, Wellington, writing on the subject of snowstorms in Canterbury — In the year 1867 I ran the 'mail coach from Timaru to Lake Tekapo, leaving Timaru every Sunday at 10 a.m. for Burke s Pass, Lake Tekapo and Fairlie, and had a very bitter experience in the heavy snowstorm which occurred in 1867, being lost in the snow, and after riding some hours found myself at the rear of the house from which I started. The following week the snow was so deep that it was impossible to get beyond Burkes Pass. During the snowstorms we have ridden about 70 miles, 35 miles each way on horseback, removing the horses shoes to prevent their hoofs balling. It was no uncommon sight during such weather to see icicles clinging to a man's moustache even in the middle of a fine day.
Periodic snowstorms all the way through to October.
John Brown, head shepherd, of Glentanner perished in the snow.
Four feet through the Mackenzie. Donald McMillan, of Sawdon, made the first snow plough to be used in the Mackenzie. John Smith, 19 years of age, son of A.B. Smith, the owner of Rollesby, and Duncan Morrison, age between 40 and 50 years, the head shepherd, and three dogs, were caught in an avalanche on the Rollesby Range. Only one dog made it home. Their bodies were recovered six weeks later. Morrison left a wife and five little children.
19 July 1888
A series of snowstorms from July to August. Robert Russell, cook at Gray's Hills Station, started for Fairlie with two feet of snow on the ground. His body was found a week later at Whales Creek, seventeen miles from grays Hills homestead. Deceased left four children and a widow. The Timaru Herald reported: "from the position in which Mr Russell was found lying, he must have been having a Lilybank 150 horses suffocated in snowdrifts.
The winter of 1895 was a severe one for South Canterbury and the South Island. Even Lyttelton Harbour froze. Lake Alexandrina near Lake Tekapo froze so thick that three hundred head of cattle walk over the lake. Stock losses in Canterbury were approximately 350,000 and throughout the South Island 750,000. A few people even died from begin caught outside or drowning. 12 feet of snow fell at Richmond station that winter. When the snow melts the rivers flood. Dogs even died, frozen stiff in their kennels. Sam Morris, the head shepherd, for the Sherwood Downs Station died from the result of the snow. The cold took a told on bird, rabbit, horses and cattle life. Before the snow melted many sheep were plucked for there wool.
Some of stations stock losses.
Balmoral and Glenmore lost 40,000 out of 45,000.
Ben Ohau 33,000 out of 50,000
Irishman Creek and The Wolds 10,000 out of 27,000
Lilybank 6,000 out of 12,000
Mistake - Godley Peaks 8000- out of 13,000
Simons Pass 5,000 out of 10,000
Clayton 15,000 out of 30,000
Richmond 300 out of a flock of 20,000
Meikleburn the entire flock
Sheep returns are not always an accurate guide. They give an indication on how severe the losses were the previous year.
Wednesday 19 June 1895
Mr Sterricker informs us that since Friday 3.13 inches of rain have fallen here.
Saturday 15 June 1895
During the past few weeks the weather has been quite of a spring-like nature at Geraldine, but on Thursday morning early a very sudden change was experienced in the shape of a downpour of rain, which lasted for hours and was followed by a fall of snow. By about 8 a.m. the downs at the back of the town were white.
Thursday 27 June 1895
The Chief Postmaster yesterday received two service telegrams informing him that the West Coast mail coach was stuck up at Otira by a heavy fall of snow, and that mails for the Mackenzie are unable to be got further than Burke's Pass, also on account of snow.
Tuesday July 9 1895
Yesterday was delightfully fine, in marked contrast to the late boisterous and rainy weather. The hills were a grand sight, and appear to have a dense covering of snow.
Timaru Herald 11 July Thursday 1895
Yesterday the boys of Timaru had their first chance this season for a game of snowballing, a light fall having taken place from about 3 a.m. It began to disappear before sunrise, and there was very little to be found by noon. A few miles back, the fall was heavier.
Evening Post, 29 July 1895, Page 3
Timaru, This Day. Six inches of snow fell at Fairlie yesterday and last night. There is a wintry wind here to-day, and snow-clouds are pa3sing at sea. Wellman John Young and assistant, who got through from Fairlie to Pukaki last week and back to Fairlie on Saturday night, report 2ft of snow between Burke's Pass and Tekapo, 21ft at Tekapo and Balmoral, 3ft to 3½ft at Wold's Plain, 2ft at Simon's Pass, and l½ ft at Pukaki. As far as the eye can see there ia very little bare grind visible. Through the extreme cold dogs have been frozen, and small birds are dropping off the trees at the homesteads. Two men got through with great difficulty. Their horses had icicles 5in or 6in long from their nostrils.
|Timaru Herald 13 July 1895
Timaru Herald 19 July 1895
North Otago Times, 6 August 1895, Page 1
SNOWSTORM IN THE MACKENZIE COUNTRY. (Timaru Herald.)
Mr John S Rutherford, who returned on Thursday from a visit to his Mistake Station, upper Lake Tekapo, on Saturday, kindly gave us the following notes of his trip, and his impressions of the outlook in the Mackenzie Country : "I left home on Saturday- this day week - and reached Tekapo that evening. From the foot of the long cutting at Burkes Pass to Edwards' Creek it was pretty rough traveling, but beyond the Creek there was a good track, the road having been cleared by the plough. There was a thaw at Tekapo on Saturday night and on Sunday, reducing the snow fully six inches, leaving about 15 inches around the hotel. About 8 a.m. on Sunday there was a fall of snow, followed by a beautiful day. I had taken up three hours with the idea of riding up to The Mistake, but I was advised to go up by boat, as there had been no one down from either Glenmore (M'Gregor's station) or the Mistake, except by boat, so I took two men and the boat We called at Glenmore with the mail, and found them all right there. They were very glad to get letters. We arrived at The Mistake at 3 p.m., and had a mile and a half to walk through snow, from 2 to 3-ft deep. On Monday snow showers fell throughout the day. I intended to go up to the head of the lake to have a look at the Godley side of the run, but could not do so for the snowfall. Lake Alexandrina was frozen over except a large patch in the centre. Cattle and horses work hard and paw away the snow until they get at the grass. Sheep will paw away the snow where the tip of a tussock shows, but the bigger stock work away' at a face, and shift the snow over large patches. Coming down, of course, they had no time to get feed in that way. As to the condition of the country and the sheep generally, Mr Rutherford says that the Mackenzie Country on getting through the Pass presents a sheet of white, except for patches on Mary's range, Simon's Pass and Gray's Hills (the last showing more bare ground), and for small patches of steep rocks. Black strips are also visible by Lake Ohau and on Rhoborough Downs. On Sawdon there are one or two small strips clear, an acre or so with about 1000 sheep on them. Ho met the manager at the Creek, going to look at 10G0 wethers in a camp on the flat, but he did not expect to find any of them alive. All the country on the east side of Lake Tekapo - Cowan's, Richmond, and Lily Bank - is perfectly white except where steep rocks show. Mr Cowan had 600 sheep stuck up on a hillside near the homestead, and a few days before Mr Rutherford went up, he managed to move 60 of them, getting them down to the lake side. The shingle beach of the lake is bare, and a few tussocks grow among the shingle. Not a black spot was to be seen on Richmond, and it was reported that the horses were dying. On Tuesday a man walked down to Tekapo to get a couple of bags of oats for them. Three men took the oats up in a boat next day, and one of them, Wallace, was brought to Burkes Pass next day badly frostbitten, and the other two suffered, although it was a fine day. Balmoral appeared to be a sheet of snow. On Glenmore the steep north face of Mount John was clearing, and sheep could be seen from the boat moving about on the bare places. All along the beaches of Tekapo and Alexandrina there were sheep in numbers, alive and dead on the ice, some frozen fast by the wool. Glenmore hands were out skinning every suitable day, and had skinned 700 already. On The Mistake all the sheep that have been seen, out of 15,500, are a few on a hillside near the homestead, and very few of them were alive. The net result of the winter, Mr Rutherford believes, will be that not a sheep wil survive ; those that live till the snow goes will die off when the feed comes again. But very few can survive the snow, as it must take a long time to disappear, there is such a depth of it. There is really no hope food of them. The men on the stations are skinning what they can, but the skins cannot always be packed in and if left lying they shrivel up and become almost worthless. If a thaw comes suddenly the skinning would soon be put a stop to by decomposition. As for the sheep they are mere skin and bone, and one of the difficulties of station life just now is lack of meat. At The Mistake a beast had been killed and was hung up and frozen hard. When the cook wanted steaks he had to saw them off. Where mutton was depended on there is none to be had. The sheep are so wasted that one can lift them by the back like a kitten. From information brought by the mailman, Mr Young, we learn that Mr Saunders, of the Wolds, is doing good work in opening tracks with a snow-plough into rough swampy places where a quantity of rough herbage supplies the sheep with good picking. It does not appear likely, however, that more than a fraction of the sheep on the run can be benefitted in this manner. There is some talk of getting up a petition to the Government for remission of the sheep late now being demanded, and for remission of this half-year's rent. Mr W. S. Maslin, M.H.R. for Rangitata - whose electorate includes a large area of snowed up country - was in town on Saturday, and he informs us that he and Mr Flatman, member for Pareora, in whose electorate the Mackenzie Country lies, have had several conversations with the Minister of Lands about the position of the Crown tenants in the mountain country, and the position which the Minister takes up is, that there will be no general remission of rents on account of the disaster, but the case of each tenant will be dealt with on its merits, and on application for remission. The question of sheep rate had not been mentioned, as neither of the members thought of it, but Mr Maslin said he would bring it up on the next occasion he saw the Minister.
THE MACKENZIE COUNTRY. (Timaru Herald)
North Otago Times, 26 August 1895, Page 1
THE MACKENZIE COUNTRY. (Timaru Herald)
Mr Arthur Hope, who has returned to town from Richmond Station, kindly gave us yesterday a few notes of his observations in (the Mackenzie Country. In the first place, as a matter which hid been given particular prominence in Press, he stated that Mr Duncan Munro, caretaker of the Tasman rabbit fence, in the vicinity of Glentanner, was at Tekapo a few days ago, and reported that the rabbiters on Glentanner were camped at the old homestead and were all right, on black ground and hard at work poisoning ; that they had hardly been stopped from their work, and were able to get to the station if necessary. Mr Hope did not hear this from Munro himself, but he believes the information is quite reliable. Mr Hope's description of the state of the country — he left Richmond on Tuesday morning — shows that there is very little improvement in except at the lower end. The runs on the east side of Lake Tekapo are still practically wholly white, the only contrasts being shingle slips, new slips and wind-swept rocks. Black ground was showing on the steep Godley faces of the Mistake ; a little on the Cass (Glenmore run) and the bulk of the sunny side of Mt. John on the same run ; on Balmoral on the N. W. face of the Old Man Range is clearing; also Mary's Range on The Wolds, and Simon's Pass is largely clear. There is a good deal of black ground on Glentanner, Rhoborough Downs, and Ben Ohau ; and the lower stations, Haldon, Gray's Hills, and Grampians show much black ground. On the other hand Sawdon, Ashwick back country, Cowan's Richmond and Lilybank are nearly as white as ever. On Sawdon Flat there is about 2 feet of snow away from the track. On this side of the Pass, Rollesby, most of the small , gracing runs and Ashwick are clearing, though very slowly. The spurs on Clayton and Sherwood Downs are showing black on the lower levels. On Ashwick Flat the snow still lies down the Opuha Gorge road, some of the small settlers' lands being covered. On Three Springs the ground is mostly bare, but remarkable wreaths remain, some of them 8 to 10ft thick. At Richmond the snow is about 14 inches thick near the lake ; a short distance back from it 2ft and 2ft. A peculiarity observed at the station is that in spite of the intensity of the frosts —12, 15, 20 degrees of frosts noted, and on one occasion the thermometer was down to zero, or 32 degrees of frost — the creeks on the run and a water race at the house have not been frozen up, as they usually are in winter, and as they were before the snow came. They are running low, but they are running, and do not freeze over. It is supposed that this is owing to there being no frost; in the ground when the snow fell, and afterwards protected it from the frosts. We have already reported that one lot of sheep on Richmond, between 3000 and 4000, were found all dead but 50. These were in a small space among snow 33 inches deep. Mr Hope confirms this, and adds that of about 5000 ewes which had been scattered along the shore of the lake, less than 100 were to be been alive. Of 30 long wool rams only nine were left on Monday. Fourteen horses and eight out of nine head of cattle were dead. There are about 30 other horses on the run, and these have pwed over acres of ground to get feed, and do not look amiss. These experiences on one station indicate the general condition of the Mackenzie Country, at all events where the snow tall was heaviest. Mr Wm, Grant has been able to get between 120 and 130 valuable rams out from the Grampians. The foregoing remarks are on the appearance of the country early in the week, but yesterday there were numerous indications that a wet nor'-wester was being experienced there, which would surely cause a decided thaw, and remove some of the snow. The track from Burkes Pass to Tekapo does not appear to be much the better for ploughing out, as the snow drifted in again, and the traffic made a very rough surface which is frozen over, and is quite dangerous travelling for a horse.
Saturday 29 July 1899 Silverstream
The heaviest fall of snow for some considerable time fell here on Sunday night last, continuing till the afternoon of the following day, when there were about 12 inches of snow on the ground. The fall was ten heaviest this side of Burke's pass; at Tekapo only about two inches fell. The snow plough has been busy clearing the roads, but owning to the quantity the snow will take some time to melt. The mails to Pukaki had been taken on horseback this week, as the usual mail-coach would have made the travelling too heavy. After the first heavy fall of snow, about 6 inches, on 7th July, the school was closed for the mid-winter holidays, and since that date there have been several falls, followed by severe frosts. Stock generally are having a rather hard time of it, but have been in good condition up to now and should soon recover from the effects of shortage of feed. Turnips are lasting well, and sheep on them are looking in first-rate condition, while several drafts of cattle from the Pass looked wonderfully well as they came down the road. Hares and rabbits are fairly numerous, or rather the snow shows their tracks and renders it easier than usual to obtain good bags. Sportsmen who do not mind the cold succeed very well. The rabbit inspector would feel easier in his mind if he saw the numbers of his "natural enemy: which have been effectually disposed of lately.
August 2 1899
From the summit of the Hunter Hills to the sea lay a sheet of shining snow.
July 11 1903
The Timaru to Fairlie train became snow bound at Cricklewood. Skinning sheep.
Evening Post, 20 July 1903, Page 6
FAIRLIE, This Day. After a thaw yesterday and to-day, an engine with a snow-plough got through from Timaru to Fairlie this morning. It is a week to-day since the line was first blocked. After reaching Fairlie the engine and a car endeavoured to reach the terminus of the line, but the engine was derailed.
Otago Witness, 12 August 1903, Page 16
Farmers around the Pleasant Point and Geraldine districts and also in the Mackenzie Country are suffering heavy losses as a result of the recent snowstorm. The snow still lies thickly over many farms in the districts named, and the severe frosts prevent a thaw. Sheep are in many instances suffering severely, and it anticipated that when the spring feed comes there will be heavy losses, as the sheep in their weak condition will scour very much. On farms where lambing has commenced, it is being found that the long period of starvation and cold has brought on abortion, and in many cases lambs which are born alive are so weak that they do not long survive. One large station-holder considers that had he not been fortunate enough to get a large percentage of his sheep down to feed near the coast, he would have lost fully half of his flock. A Geraldine settler has lost 50 cheep as a result of the snow, each worth from 16s to £1 ; another settler at Rapuna has lost 250 hoggets, and there are very many other similar losses. Mr Jones, of Mount Nessing, Albury, was in Timaru Friday last, and he informed a member of the Post staff that the snow at Albury is now only about 3in depth, and that at the back of the township there are a good many bare patches, though the snow has by no means gone yet. The thaw is extremely slow, wing to the severe frosts. Mr Jones says that his losses of sheep to far has not been large, owing to the fact that he was able to remove over 3000 lambs from his run to more congenial quarters at St. Andrews, this leaving sufficient room for tie remaining sheep on the station on the bare patches, whore they congregated. Had it not been for this transference of so many lambs Mr Jones considers that he would have lost fully half his flock. It is quite impossible, he says, to estimate the losses, or even the probable losses, as a result of the snowstorm, as he heaviest losses are likely to come later on when ewes are lambing and when the spring feed.
Snow drifts at Burkes Pass stopped traffic heading to the Mackenzie.
Snowploughs reduced the number of sheep losses.
July 1st 1943
On the road from Tekapo to Braemar the snow lay to a depth of 10 feet. Occurred on the same date as the 1918 snow storm.
Fairlie had a total of 34 inches recorded
May 9 inches
June 5 inches
July 14 inches
August 1 inch
July 13 1945 - Timaru's biggest fall of snow.
The Argus Monday 16 July 1945 Page 3
SNOWSTORMS SWEEP NZ DISTRICTS Big Losses of Stock Feared
The Argus Monday 16 July 1945, page 3.
More than seven inches of snow fell in Christchurch disorganising traffic, wrecking electric power lines, causing heavy damage to crops, and curtailing train services. Timaru reports heaviest snowfall in living memory.
July 19 1945 -18 inches at Ashwick Flat, by 30th only three inches left then on July 30th 4 inches.
November 16th 1967
An unseasonal heavy snowstorm that plastered the area
3' 6" Sherwood Downs, 4 to 5 feet at Clayton.
The problem with this snowstorm it was in summer and the ewes had lambs and many had finished shearing. Milk fever in cows (a magnesium deficiency) was a problem and Hereford cattle with sunburnt teats. The snow melted fast and the North River bridge went out.
August 5th 1973
3 - 4 feet snow on Sherwood Downs.
4 feet at Mt Cook
5 feet in the Mackenzie
On the 7th August, worried by all the snow, George Jones from "Cabuie" on Ashwick Flat suffered a fatal heart attack. He was trying to start his tractor. We were without electricity and phone service for two weeks, food from the freezer went out site in the snow drifts. Cooking and heating was not a problem as we had for years converted a an old coal range with a wet back to a diesel beck. Always had hot porridge for breakfast in the winter, our own cow, plenty of eggs and food. The first bulldozer I saw was coming from our neighbour's property coming across country across country. The fence posts could not be seen. Framers and their families were out from daylight to dusk snow raking. Bulldozers came into area to across country. When the roads opened up gangs of men, all volunteers, came to help with snow raking and stock transport trucks arrived to move stock out of the area to below Cave and to Ashburton. Stock needed to be moved to prevent deaths from sleepy sickness. Snow laid on the ground for six weeks. Usually it just hangs around for a day or two. Many trees were down. Missed two weeks of school. An Army Iroquois helicopter dropped hay out taking off from a neighbour's property below us.
September 28 1983
30 cms snow on Sherwood Downs. Severe lamb losses.
3 August 1992.
Significant snowstorms have occurred in Christchurch in 1895, 1896, 1901, 1918,
1945 and 1992. Snow storms cause damage to buildings and power lines, disruption
to traffic and communications within urban areas and stock losses in ruaral
districts. A secondary effect is snowmelt flooding. The 1992 snow storm killed
over one million stock in Canterbury. Its overall economic impact was estimated
to be $50 million to $100 million. The region experienced major snowfalls in
July and August 1992. The August snow which fell near peak lambing had a major
impact on lambing percentages. Most farmers suffering a drop in lambing of
between 20% and 30% with some dropping more than 60%.
17-18 June 2002
A severe snowstorm caused much disruption in Otago and Canterbury mid-June.
On 17 June, a moist northerly flow affected central New Zealand, bringing heavy rain in Buller and Westland. In eastern parts of the South Island, cold air at low levels became trapped by the relatively mild, moist air aloft invading from the northwest, resulting in snow in many parts of Otago and Southland. Heaviest falls were experienced in inland Canterbury, with 40-50cm being common, but around 1 metre fell at Mt Cook Aerodrome. Numerous roads were closed including State Highway 1 between Christchurch and Timaru. Snow on power-lines, plus lightning strikes, caused power-cuts affecting thousands of homes in Canterbury. Many schools closed early (around lunchtime) and vehicle accidents were common.
June 11 2006
Snowy South Canterbury
Most stock have not done to badly.
Sun been shining melting the coastal snow Coastal snow cause so much damage to telephone and power poles.
Coastal areas seriously effected. Normally it is the upper plains and foothills and high country bear the bunt. A few lambs have died of hypothermia and pneumonia.
Everywhere the snow has been thawing enabling stock braking through to feed. Army assisted getting supplies to people who are otherwise stranded.
The country breaking up now and getting picking around matagoriui and tussock the snow id breaking up and sheep can can picking
Ranged from 13" to 17" , up the valley up the valley 1/2 metre. Have had some big snows in South Canterbury, around a metre.
53 poles broken on the main line.
Two generators. Main thing to keep the deep freezes from running.
1992 had a snow like this but that stayed around for six or so weeks. The weather has been quite kind to us.
Soil temperatures have dropped.
Some cattle have died of hypothermia on the snowy foothills.
The sun has been shining on South Canterbury
Shifted stock to lower ground
Western side cleared compared to the eastern side due to winds.
Not many losses around the districts.
Snow still thick around Geraldine and Fairlie
Record snowfall hits Canterbury
There was a fast-moving front heading north and some rain and snow down the low levels.
The snowfall was bigger than its 1992 predecessor, but not as destructive to livestock because farmers had yet to begin calving or lambing. There was, however, damage to woolsheds and shelter belts. Feeding livestock was the first priority for farmers.
The first warning of heavy snow was not issued until 8.30pm on Sunday. It warned that up to 15cm could fall to 300m in South Canterbury, with lighter falls to 200m. By the morning 12 June about 15cm of snow covered the roads south of Christchurch. State Highway 1 was closed from Ashburton to Oamaru, as were parts of SH6, SH73 and SH8 along with Lindis Pass, Porters Pass and Arthurs Pass. Road workers battled through the freezing conditions to clear the highway and help motorists. Motorists were advised to watch for ice and grit in shaded areas and on bridge decks and to take extreme care in the icy conditions. Drivers travelling on the alpine passes were advised to carry chains. Last night the heavy snow in Canterbury and a landslip in the Buller Gorge had closed almost all South Island rail lines. Schools throughout the region were closed. Some roofs and verandahs in Timaru's central business district collapsed under the weight of the snow. Thousands of houses and rural properties went without power as the snow toppled trees, snapped branches and brought down power lines throughout the province. Lines fell in high winds and collapsed under heavy snow. Oxford, Rangiora and Amberley had around 10cm to 15cm of snow. Farmers were out early feeding stock. Nelson's Rocks Road was closed briefly yesterday morning when storm-driven waves threatened cars.
South Canterbury NZGenWeb Project
25 June 1895 saw a severe snowstorm in Canterbury. Other bad winter years on cycle halfway points like 1939, 1945 and 1992 also spring to mind.
Heavy rain and snow in Canterbury
17-19 August 2000
Heavy Rain, May 2010
Manse Bridge, Temuka
Temuka River Bridge
rari Estate and Timaru both recorded their fourth highest May rainfalls on May 25 2010 with 73mm and 54mm respectively. Both areas have been keeping rainfall records for more than 120 years. And it was not just single day readings that were significant. Last month was the wettest May ever recorded in Timaru, with the 150mm that fell being almost three and a half times the usual rainfall for the month, while Lake Tekapo's 134mm was more than two and a half times the monthly average and Orari Estates's 204mm three and a half times the norm for May.