Growers say their frost fans will be out in force in the coming mornings as forecast overnight temperatures in Hawke’s Bay near minus.
Morning frosts will make way for glorious sunshine on Saturday and Sunday, with early temperatures expected to be between 1 and 3C and sitting in the mid-teens later in he day.
“A southwesterly change on Friday will mean that winds will pick up and showers are forecast in the region from the afternoon,” said MetService meteorologist, Mmathapelo Makgabutlane. “These showers are linked to a front that is making its way up from the South Island.
“The front will keep temperatures down on Saturday, with a high of around 12C, which is a relatively cold temperature for Hawke’s Bay,” Makgabutlane said.
“Sunday will make a good recovery though, with temperatures around the mid-teens. The weather will be on cooler side but there will be plenty of sunshine.”
Despite cooler temperatures, clear skies and sunshine will make enjoyable winter weather to tackle that pile of lockdown laundry or sun your wintry skin from the comfort of your own garden.
The crispy mornings also mean that frost fans will be whirring into action throughout the region.
Marketing and business development manager for New Zealand Frost Fans, Chris Kay, said now is the time wine grapes and fruit crops need protection from spring frosts.
“We are noticing bud burst is happening earlier, which creates a larger window of exposure to frost-related damage,” said Kay.
Elephant Hill Vineyard in Te Awanga will have frost fans running because of the early arrival of their chardonnay crop, which requires protection against potential frost damage.
Elephant Hill Vineyard manager Brent Stone said: “If there’s a frost and you’re unprotected you can lose the current season, or if it’s a late and severe frost one could lose the following year’s crop too. Frosts have a severe impact, so fans are essential.”
The fans are relatively nuisance-free, according to Stone. “They’re not really very noisy as they spin at lower speed resulting in less noise. The fan itself and the motor are both quieter too. Our fans will definitely still make a noise but we do everything we can to minimise this.”
Under Covid-19 level 4 restrictions the wine industry is an essential service, and Elephant Hill staff are back at work today, maintaining strict social distancing and being careful to follow all safety protocols.