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Approaching storm – what does it mean to you?

Our first national storm in some time is approaching from the west and with it are over a dozen rain and wind warnings across New Zealand.

So, who is in the for the worst of the weather and how big is this storm? describes the storm has “moderate”.  We use fairly liberal descriptions for storms so perhaps this might help you understand…

  • “Minor storm” – this is one that is aggressive but perhaps only affects one region.  Small in size, or severe weather only affecting a small area.
  • “Moderate storm” – fairly rough, some damage/flooding possible.  Fairly widespread stormy conditions. 
  • “Large storm” – damage expected across a number of regions of the country.  Moderate risk for loss of life.
  • “Severe storm” – serious damage expected.  Serious risk for loss of life. is currently working on a new system to better explain incoming storms, giving them a rating and brief explanation.  Sometimes headlines, such as yesterday’s headline “14 severe weather warnings issued” can be somewhat confusing – it sounds big but in reality is mostly affecting sparsely populated areas. We will let you know as soon as we’re ready to launch our new storm page, we hope sometime in spring.

But back to this weekend:

Rain – starting later today in the west of the South Island and setting in about the ranges.  Rain will spread north on Sunday and heavy rain is likely to affect many North Island regions until at least Tuesday.  Worst affected areas will be those west of the main divides.

Wind – likely to peak during Sunday or Monday, severe gales in exposed places in the east, especially those regions inland and just to the east of the main divides.  Worst affected will be from mid Canterbury to Wairarapa.

What do you think of our storm ratings?  Use the Contact Us form to express your views and give us your suggestions.


Jason on 31/07/2010 2:37am

All depends on the angle and position of the low systems, for example tomorrows low is forecast to cross the lower SI overnight Sunday.
This gives a more projected angle on the winds isobaric flow and how much the alps will help to tighten those isobars.
In my eyes it looks like a classic set up for a windstorm in Canterbury tomorrow, i am thinking 130kmh will be an average gust for inland exposed areas so perhaps higher gusts reaching 150kmh.
But i could be wrong we have had some good windstorms in the past before and it was around this time the big one hit Canterbury a few decades ago flattening plantations.

sw on 30/07/2010 8:27pm

Depends where you are,depends if theres lightening/thunder associated too,this event wont be as stormy as the westcoast in the S.I.
In Auckland it be more “stormy” from the SW though the east coast bays,St Heliers etc is stormy in NE events.

Guest on 30/07/2010 7:46pm

I think it would help to call it a weather system not a storm, just a joe average NW system moving onto the alps.

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