4 Jul 2017

In the snow: Dunedin weather boy's daily forecasts

8:06 pm on 4 July 2017

A 12-year-old weather forecaster from Mosgiel is claiming a small victory over the professionals after having predicted today's snow before the MetService.

Ben Hawke has been writing a daily forecast for Dunedin since February and posting it on the social media platform Facebook on a page called 'Dunedin Weather, But By a Twelve year old'.

The Taieri College pupil first got excited about weather four years ago when he saw massive tornadoes in the United States, and he wanted to know why they formed, he said.

Earlier this year he did a school project on meterology, and when looking at the official forecasts he thought he could do better.

Each morning he looks at MetService's satellite and rain maps, and at data from a weather station installed at his house, then writes his own forecast before going to school.

Yesterday's post:

"MetService thinks that tonight snow will reach down to 500m at most. Looking at Mosgiel's forecasted temperatures I think it will be lower. Snow falls at 1°C and our low could get to 0°C. I wouldn't be counting my chickens yet but be warned that snow could go lower than predicted."

Later in the day the state-owned forecaster caught up, putting out an alert that snow could fall down to 100 or 200 metres.

Snow has fallen to about 300 metres in some parts of Otago, shutting six schools in Tapanui, West Otago.

The predicted low snow has not yet arrived in Dunedin, but Ben is sticking to his guns.

In the late afternoon today he posted this:

"I wouldn't get excited, but looking at the maps and stuff at the moment snow is likely tonight. The weather is getting worse and as we go into the night it cools down anyway."

Ben's forecasts have 380 followers and he is hoping for more.