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Nation shuts down waiting for nation to shut down due to snow

It’s not snow yet, but Dunedin residents are desperately hoping it will be.

It’s not snow yet, but Dunedin residents are desperately hoping it will be.

In anticipation of forecasted potential snow this week, much of the country ground to a halt today as workers entered an incessant cycle of refreshing the MetService website in between long stints of gazing blankly out their windows.

Although snow actually fell in only a few isolated areas, many businesses across the country were forced to close this afternoon after realising that nobody was actually doing what they were being paid to.

The NZX stock exchange remained open through the early afternoon, but closed at 2.30pm.

“We tried to keep going through the motions, but we all know that nobody’s going to be getting anything done today,” said NZX spokesperson Lindsay Dwyer, before hopefully looking out the window just in case.

Senior Sergeant John Hemshaw of Dunedin police has been asking motorists to drive to the conditions today, noting that while roads were generally good, there had been a few crashes due to drivers staring upward into an endlessly grey void.

The New Zealand Transport Agency had considered temporary signage for roadsides indicating whether or not snow had begun to fall, but these plans were unlikely to develop any further, as most staff had opted to go home.

Following disruption last week due to a train derailment, the Wellington public transport network again suffered delays as commuters packed trains and buses with skis, toboggans, and in one case, a small snowmobile. Account manager Johnny Slaw, who was travelling on the Johnsonville line with a large fur coat and replica sword, said he was looking forward to re-enacting his favourite snow scenes from television series Game of Thrones.

Amidst the anticipation, a number of erroneous reports have sparked excitement that snow might already have arrived.

The ONE News website reported a sighting of a snowflake in eastern Christchurch at 1pm this afternoon, igniting intense discussion on Twitter. But excitement quickly gave way to further disappointment when the snowflake turned out to be what one witness described as “an unusually pale leaf.”

Meanwhile, a German tourist’s tweet calling Palmerston North a “bleak, grey, deserted wasteland” led to widespread speculation that snow had begun falling there. But this too turned out to be erroneous, with MetService clarifying that “that’s just how it always is.”