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All quiet ahead of first sub-tropical low of the season

The skies over New Zealand this afternoon are a mix of sun and cloud as a large high continues its progression over the nation.  But waiting in the wings is the first sub-tropical low of the summer season and while not a tropical storm it has the potential to drop very heavy rain.

But before it arrives most Kiwis can enjoy settled, mostly dry, and less humid weather.  Conditions over the country this afternoon are fairly settled with just a few showers popping up here and there due to a few cloud build ups.  With lower humidity and heat this afternoon big showers, like earlier this week, are not anticipated.

A low continues to deepen off the Queensland coast this afternoon. 

This will be the first sub-tropical low to affect New Zealand in some time but while has big rain potential it doesn’t look deep enough to create major winds.  In other words, it’s not a storm.

Blustery conditions are expected over the Top Half of Sunday, but that’s more due to the incoming low arriving at the same time as the departing high to our east starts to strengthen a little – pushing back on that low and squashing up the isobars.

Winds from the north east could be strong in exposed areas but forecasters believe it will remain under the threshold for wind warnings for land.

But as with any system that comes from the humid sub-tropics, it’s one to keep a close eye on.

Computer models, while confident of plenty of rain next week, aren’t yet confident of exactly where this low will go.  Most agree it won’t be especially aggressive as far as air pressure is concerned but one should never underestimate the volatility of anything with a tropical connection.

For that reason will be providing daily in depth updates as the wetter and more humid week ahead approaches.



Guest on 8/12/2011 9:02am


You say that this low next week will not be particularly windy, so wind warnings are not likely at this stage. But you also say that it will bring lots of rain, so what are the chances of rain warnings being issued – if the system makes a direct landfall??

I understand that the track of the low is still uncertain, and you cannot be specific about locations where rain warnings might be required. But can you state roughly what the odds of rain warnings are likely to be within say 500km or so north and east of the track of the low?

Again, the existence of hills and mountains will obviously increase the chance of rain warnings where the wind is going uphill, and conversely decrease the chance of rain warnings on the other side.

WW Forecast Team on 8/12/2011 9:27am

Hi there – we’d say the chances of rain warnings next week are high… most likely in northern regions of the North Island (Northland, Coromandel, BOP) and western regions further south (Taranaki, West Coast, possibly Nelson).  The only issue is just how widespread the heaviest of the rain will be – for example, there may be heavy rain for Northland but possibly only a rain warning for a small area. 

We’ll be able to get more specific over the weekend as the system moves closer. 




David on 8/12/2011 7:16am

The weather in Auckland has been non eventful for sometime now.

It will be a pleasant change for for Weatherwatchers

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