By June 21, Wakatipu temperatures had been running on the warmer side of average and even got up to 17.3degC at Queenstown Airport on the June 5, according to MetService communications meteorologist Lewis Ferris. “That’s getting close to record territory for June,” he says. Queenstown has been seeing plenty of winter high pressure, keeping the rain at bay. The basin has also locked in some warmer, cloudier air with minus2degC the coolest temperature at Queenstown Airport by June 21. July is looking to run above average for temperature and tends to be coupled with pressures higher than average,” says Lewis. However, he says all that’s needed is one decent cold front to bring a good dump of snow, and that looked very likely for the end of June.
We consulted Television New Zealand’s One News meteorologist weatherman Dan Corbett for his interpretation and a sneak preview of the rest of the ski season. Well, according to Dan, it’s a ‘weird one’. “Somebody’s said to Mother Nature, ‘It’s winter’, but she’s still got her board shorts on and is doing weird things,” says Dan. “We’ve had the highs and then these cut off lows which just sit and get stuck. Obviously with the sea temperatures warmer than normal around the country, we’ll still get frosty days and colder spells, but they might not be as intense as we would normally see.” Temperatures are expected to be average, but maybe a little warmer than usual. Dan assures there will still be good snow for local ski areas. “If these cut off lows land in the right place there can be a good dump, but not so much so if they land in the north and we just get a passing anticyclone (high),” he says. By late June, Dan was expecting a welcome good dump of snow that could possibly even settle as low as downtown Queenstown, but some more rain-focused fronts are predicted for July. The way the weather patterns are going there are going to be lots of big highs and the usual weather systems, says Dan. However, more cold blasts are likely during the season – they’ll just probably be short and sharp in nature. It’ll still be cold enough overnight too for the ski areas to continue snowmaking.
For more in-depth weather forecasts check out Dan’s weekly weather updates online from 8pm Sunday evenings at DanielCorbettWeather.com