We have certainly been reminded in the last few days that winter is here. Central Otago drivers have to watch out for snow and ice on the roads. Two days ago, some schools were closed because icy roads were too dangerous. Alpine passes like the Lindis Pass in the South Island had heavy snowfalls. In some places like the Lewis Pass, only cars with chains were allowed. In the North Island, the Desert Rd was closed for a time and the Napier to Taupo Road was also closed.
Meanwhile heavy rain hit Tolaga Bay near Gisborne where 61 bridges were closed because of flooding. One family had to escape from their flooded house by climbing on the roof in the middle of the night and waiting several hours for a helicopter to rescue them. Heavy rain fell during the holiday weekend in Auckland, Coromandel and the Bay of Plenty.
Other parts of the east coast have had light rain and mist for about 10 days without a break. Where was the sun?
Although cold, wet weather is not pleasant, at least New Zealand has a reasonably moderate climate and most places have temperatures above zero during the day. In the far north, winter day-time temperatures are usually in double figures.
• alpine (v) – mountain; alpine pass (n) – high road between two mountains
• chains (n) – attached to tyres for safety in snow
• mist (n) – fine rain drops like a spray of water, making it hard to see when driving
• double figures (n) – 10 degrees Celsius and above