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Another cold snap later this week

Yet another cold snap is coming towards New Zealand – the third one in several weeks says  However this one looks short lived and doesn’t appear to be a repeat of the historic cold blast earlier this month. forecasters say the set up will be similar to earlier this month, but lacks the same amount of energy. “We have another long high from north to south building over eastern Australia and lows forming around or near New Zealand” says head weather analyst Philip Duncan. “But despite the similar set up both the high and the lows are much smaller. The air won’t be coming from the South Pole, it will be coming from over the Southern Ocean”.

Mr Duncan says overall the wind direction may not be so favourable for heavy snow to sea level and says that Southland and Otago will be most exposed to snow to those levels.

However heavier snow could push in across the Canterbury plains and foot hills – but it’s unclear if this will make it to sea level.

Regardless of potential snow, the air will be cold. says it will start in the deep south late on Thursday and will become more widespread on Friday. It will push into the North Island during Friday and Saturday with snow showers about Volcanic Plateau and cold winds and a few showers elsewhere.

The high in the west should clear up conditions by Sunday in most places with heavy frosts returning.

Potential Travel Problems
By Road
South Island: Snow is expected to again affect major Alpine Highways.  Snow may also affect low lying roads and highways around Southland and Otago.
North Island: Snow may affect or close the Desert Road late on Friday and into Saturday morning.

By Air:
Queenstown Airport may be affected by flight delays and cancellations as a result of snow at the airport on Friday.


Guest on 29/08/2011 8:35pm

We are booked in for a few days at Whakapapa, travelling from Auckland by car on Thursday and coming back Saturday.  Is this likely to cause us any problems?

WW Forecast Team on 29/08/2011 8:57pm

Hi there – you should be fine, although snow is possible to low levels around Whakapapa – but driving conditions shouldn’t be too bad away from National Park – just wet.  Risk of hail around National Park too.

Safe travels!
– WW

Guest on 29/08/2011 2:40am

Metservice only have a low confidence for heavy snow for Southland/Otago on Thursday yet a moderate risk for Canterbury on Friday. 

WW Forecast Team on 29/08/2011 3:34am

Our comment is with regards to snow to sea level – not our confidence of how heavy that snow will be across those regions.  (We’ve just clarified the story to clear that up).

We agree that that the heaviest snow looks likely around the Canterbury region but we still aren’t sure about snow in Christchurch.  Definitely one to watch.

– WW

kate butler on 30/08/2011 4:23am

am now much more likely to be reading your forecasts especially since metservice

were still predicting snow flurries right up until the last blizzard arrived…..

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