We've had a magnificent autumn. Summer was a right old mixed bag, but after the "weather bomb" exploded at the beginning of March, the weather changed for the better. March and April were drier than normal, and we had some majestic sunny days; a veritable Indian summer.
But all good things must come to an end. The rains have come this month, and the weather in the last couple of days has taken a turn for the cooler. It was warm enough over the weekend and after last week's rain for a final flush of pasture growth for the farmers whom we neighbour; the hills are a lovely shade of green this morning.
But it's a different story up in the middle of the island. The photo above is from Mt Ruapehu about an hour ago, and the folk from the skifields report:
It is snowing at both Whakapapa and Turoa. We have had a good 3 or 4 cms od snow s morning so far.
At Turoa it is snowing to the 13km barrier and the road is now closed; at Whakapapa it is snowing to Scoria Flat and the road is restricted. Winter is here!!
That's great news for the CNI skifields; a good May snowfall has been a rare beast in recent seasons, but if this snowfall gets the chance to settle (and there should be more with colder weather forecast from later today), it will build a great base for man-made snow to get the season off to a flyer on time in mid-June.
The ski industry is a big part of the economy of towns from Taupo to Taihape to Raetihi, Ohakune and Taumarunui. The earlier that the season gets into full swing, the better for those local economies. And if there is good snow in time for the July school holidays, so much the better! And with the Mountains to Sea Cycleway now complete and in operation, Wanganui stands to benefit as well.
So let it snow, and let it rain some more. The farmers are happy and the tourism operators are happy, and that should be good news for communities which support farming and tourism. The Indian summer was great while it lasted, but we're not complaining about the rain or the snow!