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30 Severe weather warnings cover all of NZ

In what is certainly a rare sight the crown forecaster has today issued further warnings covering every main centre in New Zealand as a very large storm churns away in the Southern Ocean. head weather analyst Philip Duncan says it shows the true size of this system.  “When you have the main centre of the low over 1000kms south of Stewart Island, or 2500kms south of Northland, but severe weather warnings covering most of the country, you get an idea of just how nasty this storm is”.

Mr Duncan says the low will remain well offshore but the severe weather mainly lies in a belt that will cover the entire nation.

Mr Duncan says that while Christchurch has a warning in place it’s really for the Southern Alps which may affect river levels around the Canterbury region – and not the downtown area itself. 

Weather conditions have quickly changed this morning for some areas.  Aucklanders woke to a sunny, calm, morning. In the past few hours winds have strengthened with gusts to 60km/h in the metropolitan area and up to 95km/h on the Manukau Heads. says Wellington city has a gale force northerly at times with gusts to 90km/h in the city and 110km/h on the hilltops.

Kaikoura has gusts to 80km/h and Westport has gusts over 70km/h. reported snow this morning falling in Queenstown.  Snow flurries are still in the area and it’s just 2 degrees.

See all 30 warnings HERE


sw on 17/09/2010 5:03am

There are often several lows like this in the far southern ocean at a given time though often further south,this is a slow one and often they can be found between south america and south africa and well south of the chathams and rotate around the globe slower than the highs and troughs.

Guest on 17/09/2010 3:33am

what are some safety tips we can use to prevent as much damage as possible in this short amount of time?

Is this storm serious enough to cause panic in New Zealand, should we be panicking?

Does this mean all employers are to dismiss workers during the weekend because of these warnings of great storms and possible destruction?
Especially with road rehabilitation/construction workers and heavy traffic working out on roads and out in the weather.

How concerned should we be? because right now I’m not too convinced. But im preparing for it in case it turns out worse than its advertised to be.

WW Forecast Team on 17/09/2010 5:28am

Well there are no Civil Defence land warnings in place, so I’d say you’re ok.

As our many press releases have said, damage will be minimal.  Wind is the main feature and it’s a westerly – which we can cope with as it’s our prevailing wind.

Major flooding isn’t likely – a) there are almost no rain warnings and b) this system is more wind related than rain.

Severe thunderstorms are in the area along the west coast – they may cause isolated tornadoes.

But we anticipate little damage – even if we do have some dangerous conditions out there (severe thunderstorms, isolated tornadoes, gusts to 120km/h across the North Island and 8 metre swells in the Tasman Sea).

– WeatherWatch

ponjee on 17/09/2010 2:52am

in Auckland its been fine lately, and then all of a sudden wind, rain then STORM.
What the heck. Everybody just pray that everythings goong to be okay.
Where did it even come from?
And is it tru that the storm is the size of Australia?

WW Forecast Team on 17/09/2010 3:07am

Hi ponjee

To answer your questions.

1)  Rather than one big rain band, as we’d get from a tropical low, this system will fire up aggressive shower bands (like the one you just saw).  Each one will get progressively heavier and windier.

2)  They are coming from the Tasman Sea.  If you look to the satellite map on the right side of this page you can see the clouds get thicker and more noticeable west of the South Island…it’s these lumpy shower clouds that will move in later today and tomorrow to Auckland.

3)  Yes, this low and associated gales cover a huge area.  Luckily for us the true centre of this low is about 1000kms south of NZ and actually moving AWAY from us.  We are only getting the top half of it.

– WeatherWatch

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