Marlborough gets the chill of Siberia's latest export

Written by Eric Gilbert on .

Tuesday's snow [Photo: Eric Gilbert]Tuesday's snow [Photo: Eric Gilbert]Tuesday (February 27) brought Marlborough a taste of the Siberian air that had been forecast over the past few days and the air was - as we had been warned - cold, very cold. 


The Sudden Stratospheric warming of up to 50C in the air above us - between 10 and 50km high - has flipped the Jet Steam to come in from the east and not the usual pattern of its westerly stream.

During Monday night we endured a hard frost when the temperature dropped to -5.3C. From this low point the thermometer struggled to get above freezing on Tuesday and then only during a couple of short sunny intervals peaking at only 1.1C just before 2pm. 

That made it the coldest day since 16 January 2013 when the thermometer did not get above freezing with a maximum of only -1.1C.

Worse was to come overnight. The temperature mid-afternoon started to fall continuously until it reached a minimum of -9.8C at 22.37 on Tuesday night. 

This very low temperature gave us the coldest night in Marlborough since the exceptional low of -13.0C during the nights of 11 and 12 February 2013.

Subsequently, cloud cover allowed the thermometer to rise a few degrees during the night so that at 08.00 on Wednesday the reading was -4.7C.

There was a snow flurry mid-morning on Tuesday, but in the early evening a heavy snow shower - starting at 17.50 and lasting almost 20 minutes - produced 1.5cm of level snow. The very dry air meant that the snow was dry and very light. 

Melting some of the accumulated snow gave a reading of just 0.3mm of precipitation - not rain but snow!