Frosty days plague the south
Fri, 06 Jul 2012 6:00p.m.
By Jessica Rowe
While much of the country has been covered in fog, the south has been hit by a run of severe frosts, and in Twizel they have endured a month of them.
But for all the burst pipes and icy roads, a run of hoar frosts has transformed much of central Otago's countryside.
A hoar frost is a winter phenomenon where soft ice crystals form like snow on everything that freezes.
Driving conditions are precarious, and getting around on a bicycle isn't even an option.
On cold clear nights, a hoar frost is formed, when the ground becomes colder than the moisture in the surrounding air.
But the cold snap has got nothing on Twizel: In the last month, the small Mackenzie Country town has had only one day above zero.
The lowest temperature was minus 11, prompting motel owner Stu Gardener to use straw to stop his pipes from freezing.
“In the seven years we’ve been here his would have been the coldest for me anyway,” says Mr Gardner.
The local plumber says he's been working around the clock fixing burst pipes.
“[It’s] busier than normal because the frosts have been greater and continually greater than what we’ve had in previous years, and that does create problems,” says plumber Mark Duncan.
And the town's fire wood supply has been cleaned out, too.
“I just can’t supply, I haven’t got any dry wood,” says firewood supplier Peter Hands. “I’m advising people if they are going to Timaru to take a trailer and bring it back with them.”
After weeks of sub zero temperatures, MetService is forecasting that Twizel will warm up in the next couple of days, giving residents a reprieve from the freezing cold.
The superfrost is expected to melt away in a few day, hopefully after the big bonspiel that is expected to be called next week.
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