UPDATED 11pm — The southerly change roared up the South Island Wednesday evening with hurricane force winds up to 160km/h and wind chills of -12, reports WeatherWatch.co.nz.
While gusty winds are affecting parts of the North Island too, it’s the South Island that’s been getting the full force with winds gusting around 160km/h on the Port Hills near Christchurch and across Banks Peninsula until late Wednesday evening.
There have been some signs of a very slight easing as we head towards midnight in the Christchurch and Banks Peninsula area.
We expect the winds peaked in Christchurch around 7:30pm to 10pm and should gradually ease back from the extreme levels overnight in the hills and exposed parts of the city, with further easing gradually across Thursday.
The cold southerly is heading northwards and the coldest of the air for many South Island areas is moving in overnight/Thursday AM.
The blast is now in Wellington with gales in exposed areas and big waves pounding the coast.
Auckland has a windy night on the way too with winds gradually rising until dawn, with blustery weather especially in the west where gales are likely at times.
Heavy downpours have moved into Taranaki and will also head north, some with hail.
Exposed areas (like the Port Hills and Banks Peninsula) and other areas further inland have wind chills of -8 and below, which is definitely a concern if newborn animals are in the wind tonight and Thursday. North Island farmers – this cold, windy, air is moving your way overnight and across Thursday and Friday.
Some alpine areas are below -12 now.
Snow showers are likely to lower overnight in the South Island and into the lower North Island. Snow showers will ease overnight in the lower South Island, or into Thursday morning.
Snow is also forecast on the Desert Road over the next day or two – and some flurries may affect the Rimutaka Ranges tonight.