Your Easter Travel forecast - 2011
UPDATED: 4:30pm, Monday. Each year we exclusively bring you a Travel Forecast for the Easter Holiday Weekend.
It's designed to give you a basic understanding of travel conditions where you are heading, whether you're driving, flying or going by ferry.
We arrange our ratings as Poor, Moderate or Good
- Poor - means there maybe significant travel discomfort. For motorists poor also means dangerous driving conditions.
- Moderate - means there's a mixture of weather that could create the occasional unpleasant travel experience, but calm/dry periods too.
- Good - Means dry weather, light winds, calm seas and calm skies.
Our forecasts for Monday/Tuesday cover from 12noon Monday to 12noon Tuesday.
North Island - Poor
South Island - Moderate
Conditions for returning home this long weekend on the roads look poor in many regions, especially the more populated upper North Island centres. Heavy rain will affect a number of North Island roads with surface flooding a definite possibility. Slips and flooded roads are also possible in many areas of the North Island with 16 severe weather warnings currently in place (as of 2:30pm) . Isolated thunderstorms are possible too between now and dawn Tuesday. Rain will become heavier as Monday progresses and we advise motorists in flood or slip prone areas (such as Coromandel Peninsula) to leave earlier rather than later to avoid possible road closures or serious delays.
For the South Island conditions are generally better but a bitterly cold southerly could see snow, hail or sleet on some South Island roads particularly around Otago and Southland and the alpine areas. A few showers may affect the east coast but long dry periods are expected. Mostly dry weather is predicted for the West Coast. We have received reports of hail in Invercargill.
WeatherWatch.co.nz urges all motorists to drive with your headlights on (on dip) even if the weather is sunny with blue skies. Studies have found driving with your headlights on increases your visibility by 50%.
Flying - Good to Moderate
If you're returning home on Monday or Tuesday conditions in most places will be OK wind wise, however strong winds will be building over the North Island. In particular a squash zone will form around central New Zealand with a few moderate bumps of turbulence on Monday evening but moreso on Tuesday - which may affect some inflight services. Windiest/bumpiest areas are likely to be from Waikato to Wellington, especially around Taranaki. Moderate turbulence will be most likely on Tuesday morning.
*Sea - Passenger Ferries
Cook Strait - Moderate - According to our partners at Weathermap sea conditions for Cook Strait ferry crossings from Monday afternoon to Tuesday morning will be going downhill with a building southerly swell of around 1.5 metres on Monday afternoon rising to 3 metres by Tuesday. Winds will rise to gale force from the south too later on Monday. A few showers will also be present.
Auckland region - Moderate - Heavy rain and brisk nor'easters along with a 1.5 metre north east swell could make conditions a bit unpleasant for those returning home from Monday afternoon to Tuesday morning. Rougher conditions are expected heading from Auckland's CBD (not towards it, going with the wind).
This forecast is not a marine forecast, it is intended to give an indication of travel comfort only.