A lot of weather is about to come streaming at us

TVNZ1 weather presenter Dan Corbett with the latest update.

TVNZ1 weather presenter Dan Corbett with the latest update. Source: 1 NEWS



Why can we smell the rain before it actually arrives? A weather expert explains

Some say it's a stony smell, others say sweet. But we all know what it is: That distinctive earthy scent in the air just before and after fresh rain.

It's a phenomenon called petrichor, and we're instinctually programmed to love it, MetService meteorologist Georgina Griffiths told TVNZ1's Breakfast today as she answered a question from a viewer.

"A lot of people can't describe it but they actually really like it," she said. "And it's historical, we have an affection for this smell because originally it was survival. We relied on rain to live."

The smell, which is especially distinctive when the rain is just about to break a dry spell, is the result of oil in rocks that becomes an aerosol when humidity in the atmosphere reaches just about the same point that causes rain, she said.

The term petrichor, a reference to the blood of Greek gods, was coined by Australian scientists in 1964 who did a series of studies about what caused the smell.

"Basically, they tested in the lab -- they steamed distilled rocks from the Australian outback or somewhere nice and dry to see what would happen," she said. "And they identified what the smell was. It was actually a yellow oil that came out of the rocks."

Since then, some enterprising amateur geologists have tried to bottle the oil in attempts to make money off our natural affinity for the smell, Ms Griffiths said.

"I'm not sure if they were successful," she said.

MetService meteorologist Georgina Griffiths looks at the science behind the smell we’re instinctually programmed to love. Source: Breakfast

TODAY'S
TOP STORIES

Fine weather for most of the country today, a few scattered clouds otherwise clear

TVNZ weather presenter Dan Corbett gives the latest update. Source: 1 NEWS

TODAY'S
FEATURED STORIES

Eleven Glenorchy homes still without power 48 hours after early spring snowfall

Some resident in Central Otago's Glenorchy are still without power 48 hours after a spring snowfall caused major disruptions in the deep south.

Eleven properties remains with power this morning.

Aurora Energy is hoping to have power restored to the area by this evening.

Around 360 households in the central Otago town are affected, with Aurora Energy hoping to have electricity back on by this evening. Source: Breakfast

In many places power was cut, schools were closed and flights cancelled. Source: 1 NEWS


Readers' photo gallery: Early spring snow continues to wreak havoc in South Island

Snow warnings are in place, a section of State Highway 94 has been closed and households across central Otago remain without power as wild weather continues to batter the South Island this morning.

Fox Peak Ski Area near Fairlie was looking at a season without much snow, until last night. Source: 1 NEWS

Arrowtown saw an early spring snowfall overnight, 17 September 2018. Source: Sophia Purdon

Around 500 households also remain without power across central Otago, including all of Glenorchy, Lower Shotover, Speargrass Flat, Arthurs Point, Alexandra, Tarras, Dalefield and Frankton.

Aurora is working to have power restored to the affected homes as soon as possible but it will take time to due to damaged power lines.

Usually snow is a good thing for a ski field, but it couldn’t clear the roads fast enough to open this morning. Source: 1 NEWS

Arrowtown. Source: Jesse Van Grinsven

Meanwhile, SH94 from Te Anau to Milford Sound has been closed this morning due to a high avalanche risk.

Queenstown. Source: Thomas Martin

An early spring dump of snow fell on Te Anau overnight, 17 September 2018. Source: Alana Pullar

Arrowtown saw an early spring snowfall overnight, 17 September 2018. Source: Sophia Purdon

Arrowtown. Source: Jess Van Grinsven

A heavy snow warning is in place on the Lindis Pass (SH8 Tarras to Omarama).

A snow warning remains in place for Crown Range Road, where up to an extra 3 centimetres of snow was expected overnight.

The Ministry of Education said they are unaware of any early childhood centres or school closures today.

Arrowtown saw an early spring snowfall overnight, 17 September 2018. Source: Sophia Purdon

Source: James Penwell

Bridesdale Queenstown. Source: Kate Tonks

Te Anau. Source: Phillip Robertson

Snow on the Crown Range. Source: NZTA

View readers' photos from this week's big white out:

In many places power was cut, schools were closed and flights cancelled. Source: 1 NEWS