Weather: Sub-zero temperatures on the coldest morning of 2022, with -11 C near Omarama

  • The temperature fell to -11C near Omarama in south Canterbury – the coldest temperature recorded by MetService so far in 2022
  • Hamilton and Christchurch airports also experienced their coldest temperatures of 2022, while Auckland airport experienced its second coldest
  • An anticyclone over the country brought clear and stable conditions to most areas, but clouds over the lower North Island avoided particularly cold temperatures.
  • Police urge motorists to be careful on icy roads

Temperatures plummeted across most of the country overnight, with a station near Omarama in the south Canterbury interior falling to -11C – the coldest temperature recorded by MetService in 2022.

Many places were well below freezing and several had their coldest temperatures of the year.

The Omarama Low was the lowest temperature at this station and nationwide this year, meteorologist Tui McInnes said.

-3.6°C at Christchurch Airport was the lowest temperature so far in 2022, as was -1.4°C at Hamilton Airport. Wednesday’s low of 5.2C at Auckland Airport was the second coolest temperature in 2022, with the station recording 4.7C on a May day.

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Other particularly cold temperatures recorded overnight included -9.7C at Mt Cook and -8.4C at Tekapo, while Invercargill fell to -2.7C, Timaru to around -4 °C and Queenstown around -5°C.

A photo of State Highway 8 between Tekapo and Twizel Wednesday morning.

Provided

A photo of State Highway 8 between Tekapo and Twizel Wednesday morning.

In the North Island, the temperature dropped to -4°C in Taumarunui, while the national park fell to -4.1°C and Rotorua also dropped below 0°C.

It was cool in Auckland, but minimum temperatures in the country’s largest city were widely between 4 and 6C, McInnes said. Alongside the 5.2C low at Auckland Airport, Mangere Bridge rose to 6.3C and Ardmore fell to 1.3C.

Wellington was quite cloudy and stayed well above freezing, with the capital’s coldest temperature being 5.6C at Wainuiomata, while Wellington Airport only dropped to 8, 4°C.

Clouds over the lower North Island, much of it to a line from Mount Taranaki to East Cape, had pushed cold temperatures away from much of that part of the country , said McInnes.

Queenstown, Invercargill and Christchurch all reached freezing temperatures overnight.  (File photo)

Mytchall Bransgrove / Stuff

Queenstown, Invercargill and Christchurch all reached freezing temperatures overnight. (File photo)

In contrast, the skies over the South Island were basically clear. With an anticyclonic system in place, after a few days of southerly winds, the situation was perfect for very cold night temperatures.

Snow in Mackenzie Country near Omarama last week

JOHN BISSET/Stuff

Snow in Mackenzie Country near Omarama last week

The police asked drivers to be extra careful. Conditions were freezing, especially in the hilly suburbs of Dunedin. Primary and middle schools in Dunedin started at 10 a.m. on Wednesday.

Motorists have been urged to delay their journey if possible and drive in the conditions.

State Highway 8 was closed between Tekapo/Takapō and Twizel due to ice. The alternate route south between Tekapo/Takapō and Ōmārama passes through Timaru and the Waitaki Lakes.

Police were called to an accident on State Highway 8 where a truck and trailer tipped over in icy conditions between Tekapō and Twizel around 12:10 a.m.

Shortly after, a second truck rammed the trailer and overturned, a police spokesman said.

“One person was slightly injured and the road remains closed while sand is spread across the road.”

Meteorologist Jessie Owen said weather conditions are expected to be similar Wednesday night across the country.

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“We’ve had a fairly mild start to the winter this year and it’s hit us hard for the past few weeks, so I think everyone is feeling it, it’s a bit of a sudden change.”

A few showers in eastern parts of the North Island would clear throughout the day and into Thursday.

From Thursday afternoon, more unstable weather was forecast with a few fronts bringing rain.

“It will also bring in warmer air and take out some of those colder temperatures, briefly anyway before the next cold break arrives.”