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Masterton Town Square. PHOTO/SUE TEODORO

Masterton’s coldest temperature in 27 years

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Freezing temperatures sent the mercury plunging across Wairarapa on Monday morning as the region woke up to one of the coldest days on record for Masterton.

Heavy frost turned paddocks and hills white, and car windscreens froze as burst pipes prompted multiple calls to Fire and Emergency.

Karina Southey, vineyard manager at Matahiwi Wines near Masterton recorded a temperature of -7.1 degrees Celsius on Monday morning.

“I’ve never seen it that low,” she said, saying that the gauge was 750mm off the ground.

Southey said her car doors froze shut between leaving home and arriving at work.

Stephen Glassey, meteorologist at Metservice said an official temperature of -5.5C was recorded at Hood Aerodrome at 7am yesterday.

“The coldest temperature recorded at Masterton Aerodrome was -5.4C in 1997,” he said.

Records began at Hood Aerodrome in 1988.

“This morning’s temperature of -5.5 C was the coldest recorded for that particular location.”

A spokesperson for the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research [Niwa] said the MetService recorded low was one of the coldest temperatures recorded in Masterton.

Previous lows recorded by Niwa were -6.9C in June 1946, -6.7C in July 1935, -6.1C in July 1994 and June 1907, and -5.6C in August 1944.

The cold snap is a stark contrast to last month when Masterton had the third highest mean June temperature [10.2C] since those records began in 1906.

Glassey said temperatures had steadily dropped all weekend, due to a large ridge of high pressure over New Zealand.

“The temperature dropped below zero between 9pm and 10pm on Sunday night and did not rise above zero until between 10am and 11am yesterday morning,” Glassey said.

Castlepoint recorded 5.4C and Ngawi 3.8C on Monday.

The warmer temperatures were due to the modifying influence of the sea.

Masterton recorded -4.1C on Sunday, -3C on Saturday and -1.6C on Friday.

Temperatures were expected to rise today.

“We have a forecast minimum of 2C on Tuesday morning and a Wednesday minimum temperature of 7C.

Early morning frost in Gladstone. PHOTO/SUPPLIED

Louise Rawlinson owns South Wairarapa-based Ruakokoputuna Olives with husband Gary. The couple live in Gladstone where they recorded a temperature of -5C on Monday morning.

“We hope we haven’t lost all our olives. We already lost a lot of olives in the storm last week,” she said.

“In the past, we have lost many olives from frost.”

The couple have 1850 olive trees and own one of the last olive farms in New Zealand to harvest.

“We were hoping to harvest this week.”

Fire and Emergency Masterton station officer Kevin Smith said the cold weather prompted several callouts on Monday morning.

“We had five calls between 7.15am and 11.15am.

“Three were sprinkler activations, all frost-related.”

He said the alarm activations included burst pipes and broken gaskets.

He advised people to ensure their alarms and sprinkler systems were properly maintained.

South Wairarapa Mayor Alex Beijen said it was important to be prepared for winter weather.

“Steps and decks can get very icy in these conditions, and we would recommend people have a bag of sand handy to sprinkle over before using them. Also, do check on your neighbours in case they need a hand.

“Council generally puts grit on icy roads to help improve driving conditions. If anyone has issues due to weather, they should call the council. We urge everyone to drive to the conditions.”

A spokesperson from Masterton District Council echoed the message.

“In older homes, extreme frosts can freeze uninsulated water pipes. If water does not flow when taps are turned on in the morning, the pipes could be frozen.

“The council cannot do work on pipes on private property and a plumber should be called.

“As with any extreme weather situation, people are encouraged to ensure their neighbours and relatives are coping with the conditions.”

Strong winds were expected later on Tuesday with MetService forecasting severe gale north to northwesterlies in exposed places, with gusts up to 120kmh.

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