'Very unusual': April snowfall surprises South Island, New Zealand

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It appears winter has come early, with snow, rain and strong winds hitting much of the island, South Island locals say.

Snow blanketed the South Island's high country and alpine passes as a low swept across the country today. Much of the South Island's high country and alpine passes saw snow overnight, including Lewis Pass, and Porters Pass.

MetService said there could be more to come, with the Kaikōura Ranges and high country in Canterbury and Otago facing more snow down to 500m later today.

The storm has also been bringing thunderstorms, gales and tornadoes to the North Island, causing severe damage to homes and cutting power to at least 12,000 properties.

Tekapo's Creel House B&B co-owner Rosemary Brown has lived in the area for more than 20 years, and said she had never seen so much snow so early in the year.

"It's like four weeks early, it's usually in May the amount of snow that we've received today.

"Sometimes we do get a dusting on the tops of the mountains in March, but in April we don't usually have autumn snow.

www.radionz.co.nz

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Weather Alert Online: 'Very unusual': April snowfall surprises South Island, New Zealand
'Very unusual': April snowfall surprises South Island, New Zealand
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