South weathering storm

Slippery slope...Sisters Lily (left,15) and Chelsey Beattie (13) use their boogie boards to sled down a snowy slope in Gore on Sunday. PHOTO:SANDY EGGLESTON

A snowstorm followed by nearly a month’s worth of rain falling in two days have left the South sodden.

Freezing temperatures hit on Saturday, followed by a snowfall which covered the province.

Severe rainfall then drenched the South, causing surface flooding, closing roads and leaving farmers with ponds rather than paddocks.

Niwa meteorologist Chris Brandolino said Gore had received 80% of its July rainfall in two days.

The snowstorm was caused by an air mass which originated in the Southern Ocean and Antarctic.

A marine heat wave which meant ocean temperatures around the South Island were up to 2degC warmer than usual also contributed to the storm, he said.

‘‘The cold air moves over warmer ocean and causes a lot of instability. It is fuel for the snow,’’ he said.

The past three months in the South have also been unusually warm, making the cold snap more ‘‘noteworthy’’. The good news is the unsettled weather should be over by the weekend.

‘‘The second week of the school holidays should be much more settled and pretty mild for the next week to 10 days,’’ Mr Brandolino said.