Smoke smothers Sydney again, air pollution levels rocket (+Maps, Photo)

Filed in:

Australia has lighter winds over the fires but that is keeping smoke stuck over Sydney and other large parts of NSW this morning.

Some areas well inland have air pollution levels now "hazardous" while Sydney itself is in the higher range of "unhealthy".

Past 7 days rainfall + How much rain is coming this week (+5 Maps)

Some parts of NZ are drenched others are much drier and in need of rain. A several day deluge has now cleared the West Coast with a much drier week on the way for them - but another burst of heavy rain is expected late week (nothing like what has just fallen though).

Aussie smoke impacts NZ's air quality - clearer air pushing through Sunday (+5 Maps)

More smoke and dust from Australia continues to drift over New Zealand today but a change on Sunday may improve air quality levels around the eastern Tasman Sea / NZ area.

For Saturday the smoke and higher air pollution has slid down to central NZ (upper South Island lower North Island).

VIDEO: Smoke from Australia, a West Coast deluge and a Monday cool change

Our video this weekend is packed full of info as we track the raging Australian bush-fires and the huge smoke plume being generated across the Tasman Sea and parts of New Zealand.

We’re tracking the West Coast deluge as another 300mm+ is forecast for some areas with spillover into Lake Wanaka which is already flooding.

Australia on fire - Massive smoke clouds smother Sydney, cover NZ too

Filed in:

Updated 8am NZDT/6am AEDT --- Bush fires along eastern Australia flared up Thursday with a huge pulse of smoke and dust crossing the Tasman Sea, covering parts of New Zealand and smothering Sydney with thick smoke.

Those suffering from asthma and allergies may be affected by the smoke in both Australia and NZ and closing doors and windows may help.

Southern Ocean storm intensifies, to briefly drift away before returning (+5 Maps)

The huge storm in the Southern Ocean near New Zealand and Tasmania will continue to deepen and intensify over the next 24 hours - but oddly in NZ our weather will ease a bit in most regions for a time. It's a bit of one step forwards one step backwards for the storm which will drift westwards back away from us over the next day or so, before moving back in.

VIDEO: Southern Ocean Storm - We track severe weather but also who misses out

In detail we track the journey of this storm in the Southern Ocean explaining why not everyone has severe weather and focusing on those who truly do have severe weather risks.

The storm is still intensifying but on Thursday drifts a little further away from NZ meaning winds and rain do ease back for a time for those who have it.

The Swiss Cheese Effect - How to read NZ's Seasonal/Monthly forecasts and get more from them

We all know the generic forecast that often gets it wrong. "A dry weekend" says the weather - then you get a downpour and your gutters overflow. Welcome to New Zealand and why forecasters age here faster than most nations on earth!

VIDEO: Southern Ocean storm to affect NZ until Sunday

We have the latest on the deep storm in the Southern Ocean. While it’s a long way from the North Island it will send a burst of rain there today but the days ahead don’t look too bad.

The South Island, on the other hand, has more heavy rain on the West Coast off and on until Sunday.

Southern Ocean storm: 9 Latest Maps + Forecast

Up to 250mm has fallen in some parts of the Southern Alps in just the past 24 hours and over the next few days another 250mm is coming. Today is likely to be the windiest day nationwide but the winds are warm, pushing much of the country above normal temperature-wise today and the whole country will again be above normal tonight.