Augie Auer dies

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Atmospheric scientist and meteorologist Augie Auer has died after suffering a heart attack while in Melbourne over the weekend.
Augie was most well known in New Zealand for his role as Chief Meteorologist for MetService in 1990.   He came to New Zealand after over 20 years as a professor at the University of Wyoming in America.
In 1998 his fame through the media lead him to become weather presenter for TV3 and he coined such phrases as “Ditto day” and “another blue dome day”.
In 2002 he left our screens and in 2006 Augie helped found the New Zealand Climate Science Coalition – in which Augie passionately argued against the man made influence on global warming. He was well known for saying that it was time to ‘attack the myth’ of global warming.   “It was fascinating to listen to Augie debate this controversial subject.  He certainly made me challenge my own beliefs” says the Radio Network’s weatherman Philip Duncan.  “Whether you believe in global warming or not, Augie was so interesting to listen to and he poked holes in a lot of global warming theories.  Without Augie’s voice now, I fear the debate will become very one sided as he had a charming way of making people listen”.
“Augie always spoke with fire in his belly and had a simplistic, humorous approach to explaining the weather.  He could hold your attention for a long period of time...he was just that kind of guy.  He will be very sorely missed".  


IS IT A DROUGHT BREAKER? Heavy rain falls across Hawke’s Bay

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East Coast farmers are today celebrating after substantial rain finally falls after months of dry weather.  The system that brought flooding rains to Australia’s east coast is this afternoon bringing heavy rain to our east coast.  “From Gisborne to Wairarapa the rain has been falling and the best news is there is more to come” says Head Weather Analyst Philip Duncan.  “Right through this week we’re expecting showery conditions – not as much as today but still enough to keep the ground damp”.
Mr Duncan says mild temperatures will also promote some grass growth but southerlies arriving by Friday will bring colder conditions.  “For the next 10 days it looks like the region will break from the dry blustery westerly direction, with more easterlies and southerlies”.  He says if this pattern stays in place then the drought issues should start to ease, but he warns farmers shouldn’t count their chickens just yet, as weather patterns at this time of year can be very changeable.
Reports from Napier are that the rain has been persistent all day.   Some good news in what has been a sad day on the weather front.



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- "Conditions diabolical" - snow arrives for 5pm traffic in Invercargill last night.
- Heavy snow in Porters and Arthurs pass
- Could it snow in Christchurch today? 
Our first winter storm of the year is this morning continuing to dump snow over the South Island.   In news just to hand from our South Island Weather Analyst, Richard Green, heavy snow is falling in Porters and Arthurs pass.  It's also currently falling in Sheffield, Springfield and Darfield.
And in a surprise to forecasters, light rain has started to fall in Christchurch - that combined with an air temperature of just 4 degrees means sleet or light snow may fall in the garden city.  Mr Green says the temperature is falling and he is closely monitoring the situation.
Further South and a surprise heavy snow fall just in time for evening commuters in Invercargill made driving conditions "diabolical" according to our local news reporter Malcolm Gayfor.  He says they also had thunder and lightening.
But while South Islanders appear to be getting slightly worse weather than was forecast, North Islanders appear to be missing the real cold stuff.   "Most towns this morning are in the lower teens, with strong winds just about everywhere" says Head Weather Analyst Philip Duncan.   "Wellington should see a colder southerly kicking in early this evening, arriving in Auckland overnight".  Mr Duncan says for the North Island, conditions should improve quite quickly on Saturday.
He says on Sunday a depression moving in from the sub-tropics will see temperatures lift as an easterly air flow kicks on and warmer heavy rain moves in.  It's unsure at this stage if this low will bring rain to Eastland and Hawkes Bay next week.



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- North Island escapes worst of weather
- Still bitterly cold in the south.
- Potential low may bring rain to drought region
It’s still bitterly cold across much of the South Island but it appears the North Island has escaped the worst of the polar blast.  “While winds have been clocked around 80km/h over much of the North Island today they low that’s brought the bad weather has slipped further into the Southern Ocean” says Head Weather Analyst Philip Duncan.  “The winds have moved more westerly right over the country, bringing a smidge of warmth back in to many”.
A very weak cold front is going to move over Auckland tonight while a stronger cold front will bring much colder weather into Wellington.  By noon tomorrow yet another cold front will move on the South Island, disintegrating as it moves north.  “There may be a few brief showers in southern Hawkes Bay, although nothing significant”.
The weekend looks like it’s going to be very cold and shower in the South Island and southern part of the North Island, with conditions improving for the rest of the North Island. 
Warmer conditions will return by late Sunday or Monday for many, as a sub tropical low moves down over the far north.  Weather.Com is predicting a 60% chance of rain in Hawkes Bay.  MetService is also saying there is a very small risk that another low may develop off the coast of Wairarapa creating significant rain for the region.   All eyes will be monitoring that potential system very closely.


Minus 5 with 100km/h winds…and this storm is moving your way

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The full fury of winter has arrived today with gales, snow and sub zero temperatures for both islands over the next 72 hours.
Currently in Invercargill, where the first front has now passed, the wind chill will be felt right through to the bone.  It’s minus 5 with a gale wind gusting to 100km/h.  And although this storm will weaken as it moves north, it is going to pack a punch over the entire country.
"Front after cold front will continue to slam into New Zealand right into next week, with the worst weather arriving between now and Saturday" says Head Weather Analyst Philip Duncan.  "This is going to be a harsh storm, which may affect any lambs born early".
Mr Duncan says gales will accompany the snow which will bring wind chills well into the negatives.  "We will be seeing wind chills of -5 or -6 in many exposed areas in the South Island south of Otago and around parts of North Island’s Central Plateau".
Here's a time line of this polar blast...
Early hours of today (Thurs):  Front 1 moves up the South Island.  Snow starts to fall in Southland and Otago high country.
Mid Morning:  Front number 2 hits Southland while Front number 1 moves into Christchurch.
Noon:  Front 1 reaches Cook Strait, temperatures will plummet in Wellington by afternoon.
Tonight:  Front 1 reaches Auckland.  Front 2 reaches Wellington.  Snow lowers in Southland and Otago to near sea level.  .
Friday afternoon:  Front 3, the coldest of them all, reaches South Island.  Snow falls to low levels.
Saturday afternoon:  Front 3 moves over North Island.  Snow may affect SH1, the Desert Road, and SH5 the Napier Taupo Highway.
Monday:  Front 4 arrives with more rain than snow.



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- Reports have just come in from our South Island Weather Analyst Richard Green, that snow is currently falling in Clinton (near Balclutha) and in Gore.  Sleet and hail, along with gales are slamming into Invercargill.


- And gales are pounding other regions - Up to 140km/h at Castlepoint and 100km/h in Kaikoura.


Conditions are likely to ease tomorrow morning, before a more severe front hits tomorrow night.


More news as it comes in…



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Big Cold snap on the way...
-         “It’s going to be windy and wintry – just horrible for many places”
-         Plenty of snow on the way for ski fields in both islands.
It’s been a long time coming – but a cold snap is on the way and it’s set to bring snow to Queenstown, low parts of Southern New Zealand and possibly the Desert Road. 
Head Weather Analyst Philip Duncan warns the cold snap will see temperatures plummeting into the negatives along with a bitterly cold wind chill. “It’s going to be windy and wintry – just horrible for many places”.  Global weather giant, is predicting highs of just 6 degrees across Southland and Queenstown over Friday and the weekend, with similar temperatures about the central plateau. "Snow squalls are likely around Queenstown and may even fall in the town.  Waiouru may also see sleet or light snow - which may affect the Desert Road at its highest point". 
Even Aucklanders will shiver under cloudy skies and chilly winds.  "Highs around 13 are expected this weekend, well down on the 20 degrees they were seeing a couple of weeks ago.  With wind chill it may feel more like 9 or 10 during the warmest part of the day.  It's going to miserable for most New Zealanders this weekend"
But not all New Zealanders will be unhappy with the weather.  Our South Island weather analayst Richard Green says although snow may fall to low levels in both Southland and Canterbury, ski operators will be very happy.
This storm is changing by the day, so our Weather Watch team will be closely monitoring it, and will be able to give more details about snow fall, affected roads and towns, and how this storm is going to affect you.  We'll also update you on the latest storm warnings from MetService.



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Gales, then get ready for the cold…
A cold front is moving towards New Zealand and preceding it are very strong, dry north west winds.  MetService, who provide official warnings, have issued severe wind warnings for Hawkes Bay, Wairarapa and all regions south of Dunedin.  “Winds may gust up to 120km/h” the statement says.   MetService expect the worst of the wind to be during daylight hours today.
TRN’s Head Weather Analyst Philip Duncan says the country should brace itself for a big cold snap, on the way this Thursday, Friday and across the weekend.  “There will be snow to low levels and temperatures will plummet”.
The Weather Watch Centre will closely monitor the first big Winter storm of the year, and will release an in-depth story this evening (Tuesday) for use in news & on-air Wednesday.



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In what has been the warmest May on record, since figures started in the 1850’s, we today move into Winter.  June 1st marks the first day of Winter in New Zealand and for many it’s hard to believe the coldest weather of the year is only a few weeks away.  TRN’s Head Weather Analyst Philip Duncan warns not to be fooled by the warmer weather.  “The cold weather is building over Antarctica and as soon as the large highs move further north we’re likely to be walloped by some pretty cold weather out of the blue.  I’d suggest that most seasons over the past year or so have been running a month or two late…winter may well start in late June and run into late October this year”.
Of course that’s looking into the crystal ball – so what does this long weekend have in store for us?
Queens Birthday Weekend Weather
“This Queen’s Birthday weekend is going to be an absolute mixed bag.  Most places will see rain or showers, mostly on Saturday with the south having a wee cold snap on Sunday”.   Mr Duncan says farmers in South Hawke’s bay aren’t likely to see much rain.  “At the time this story went to air [Thurs night] there was just a 20% chance of showers in Hawkes Bay…that’d be lucky to be more than a few millimetres at best”.
The weather in your holiday town
Bay of Islands/Auckland/Coromandel/Bay of Plenty – rain on Saturday but improving on Sunday.  The cold weather won’t make it this far north so enjoy much warmer nights (back into the lower teens) and mild days (around 17 or 18).  Sunday and Monday should be enjoyable.
Taupo – similar to the north, but the rain will be lighter and the winds will be a little cooler on Monday…but nothing too unpleasant.
Gisborne & Napier will enjoy warm light nor’westers and more sun than anywhere else.  A few showers around Gisborne on Saturday otherwise a sunny Sunday and Monday.  Be aware strong winds may develop during Monday south of Napier.
Taranaki – showery and cool – highs only around 13 or 14.
Wellington – sorry guys, worse still – showers all weekend, improving Monday though but a cold snap will arrive on Sunday…high just 12!
Nelson – a few  showers Saturday will turn to light rain, but easing back on Sunday to mainly dry weather.
Christchurch and Dunedin – one or two showers, intensifying on Sunday with a bitterly cold southerly change – just 9 or 10 degrees your highs on Sunday.   Better on Monday. 
Queenstown and Central Otago – a few showers on Saturday then mostly cloudy and cold.
Invercargill: It’s been warm lately – but back to cold this weekend - wet Sat, then cloudy and cold with one or two shows Sun and Mon.  And it’s going to be really windy – gales possible on Monday.
West Coast - wet and cold but improving Monday.
*Rating your travel comfort.
SaturdayAverage.  Wet in most places will make driving conditions difficult for some, however the rain isn’t expected to be too heavy.
SundayGood.  Just a few showers about, otherwise a good driving day.
Monday: Good.  Drier roads, but watch for wind gusts in the south eastern areas of both islands.
Saturday:  Good.  Might be wet, but it should be calm for most places.  Could be windy in Wellington…(really?)
Sunday:  Good.  Good flying conditions.
Monday:  Average. Most main airports should be ok, but Napier, Wellington, Palmerston North, Dunedin, Invercargill and Queenstown could all be quite windy.  Napier and Invercargill especially.
Cook Strait ferries.
Saturday: Poor toAverage.Very rough sea and moderate swell, however easing during the day.
Sunday: Average:  A moderate Southerly swell.
Monday: Average to Poor.  Winds are likely to be gale force later in the day.
*These are just subjective opinions based on weather data provided on Thursday May 31st.  Please monitor the latest weather forecasts before travelling.



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         The last day of Autumn….or is it still an Indian Summer?  

No it's not a rugby score but the temperatures between the two locations at 6.30 this morning.  It’s even fourteen degrees in Invercargill.
That’s right - a warm nor'west flow over the eastern parts of the South Island has the temperatures currently rising across the South Islandi – with high’s in the low 20's expected in parts of Canterbury today.
“Officially it's the last day of Autumn but looking at our mountainous backdrop, there are very few indicators that winter is about to kick in” says South Island Weather Analyst Richard Green.
“The ski season is heavily booked like no other time and nature has yet to come to the party, but it is certainly early days yet”.
Rain with some heavy falls is expected today and into tomorrow in western areas mainly.
Cooler temperatures are on their way for the country but at this point, not quite the chill expected at this time of year.
Head Weather Analyst Philip Duncan will release a long range forecast for this weekend’s holiday weather by noon Wednesday, followed by a more detailed travel forecast on Friday.