News contributors offer their take on the worst storm of spring

Our readers have been inundating us with pictures and comments about the recent spring storm system, and we wanted to share some of the best contributions so far!

We asked on our Facebook page what the conditions had been like around the country, and we received dozens of responses from all parts of New Zealand.

Friday's calming - your situation & outlook

The country can finally breathe a sigh of relief tomorrow, as things are calming down a bit - though it won't be for long, unfortunately.
A west/southwest airflow currently lies over the country, though the South Island can look ahead to a building southwesterly over the day.
Meanwhile, an anticyclone lies to the northwest of the South Island, in the

Rosetta 'scores a 310 million mile touchdown' (+VIDEO)

Imagination became reality Wednesday when a mechanical space traveler called the Philae probe plunked down on its target, a comet with a much less romantic name -- 67P -- some 310 million miles (500 million kms) from Earth.

NZ Govt warned: 'Climate change inaction will cost you'

The Government's being warned inaction on climate change will cost them far more than trying to reduce emissions.

Just-released briefing documents for the new Government show .. rather than heading for the target of a five percent reduction on 1990 carbon levels .. by 2025 we're expected to make a 50 percent increase.

USA - White House and China set historic emissions targets (+VIDEO)

At the end of a trade summit in China, U.S. President Barack Obama announced a climate change agreement with Chinese President Xi Jinping that would cut both countries' greenhouse gas emissions by close to a third over the next two decades.

USA - Arctic blast hammers Midwest; Great Lakes (+VIDEO; Pics)

Even though we're still a couple of weeks from Black Friday, there seems to be a preseason special on snow and cold.

The upper Midwest and Great Lakes are buried in snow, shivering under the icy blanket.

From the Rockies to the heartland, ferocious winds are ripping across the Plains, bringing freezing temperatures as far south as Oklahoma and the Texas Panhandle.

Spring storm latest - more to come

The country is being pounded by stormy weather as a spring storm brings a cold air mass, forecasters say.

"Most of the county has had plenty of heavy showers and also thunderstorms and hail," crown meteorologist Mariken van Laanen said. 

Weather video: Storm update

We have the very latest on the spring blast affecting the country with hail, rain, gales and snow on the ranges.

The sun does come back out again on Friday and perhaps Sunday – but Saturday sees another burst of wind, hail and showers.

Check out our latest weather video, below.

Storm warning: Thursday's situation & outlook

We've got our 'spring blast' continuing through the latter part of this week, with strong gales, cold air, thunderstorms and hail all on the menu for different parts of the country.

North Island

Lightning blasts apart massive Dunedin tree

A huge macrocarpa tree exploded, sending pieces 70m into the air, after it was struck by lightning during a spectacular storm in Dunedin yesterday. 

Portobello Deli owner Alan Cameron said he was in the storeroom sorting stock when the tree, in nearby Hatchery Rd, exploded about 1.30pm.

''Then there was this huge flash and an almighty boom.