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It’s Sydney’s turn this morning….then it moves our way tonight.  Another massive storm off the New South Wales coast is rapidly deepening today and is likely to deepen further before it reaches New Zealand.  The storm is feared to bring flash floods and down trees in Australia this morning before heading out to sea towards New Zealand.  Australian forecasters are saying this storm is very similar in size to the one that wiped out the Sydney to Hobart yacht race in 1998. 
TRN’s Head Weather Analyst says the storm is massive.  “This is a mini-cyclone with winds over 120km/h battering the Australian coastline and those gales are also expected later in the week for some parts of New Zealand”.  Mr Duncan says the storm is currently covering the entire Tasman Sea.  “It is still deepening and the centre is widening.  Basically the wide the ‘eye’ gets the lesser the winds will be, as the energy is spread over a much bigger area, but we’re still expecting some pretty hefty gusts”. 
Rain is expected to start falling today over much of New Zealand, spreading everywhere by tonight.  Mr Duncan says thunderstorms are also expected in northern regions this evening, some may bring some very heavy localised rainfalls. 
MetService is also keeping an eye on the storm, issuing a storm watch for several parts of New Zealand ranging from heavy rain in the north, to gales about Hawkes Bay, and possibly snow for Southern areas.
“The storm will arrive in two parts” says Mr Duncan. “Firstly rain and strong north easterlies today…then a bit of a breather on Thursday as the large centre of the storm moves over the country, which may trigger further thunderstorms.  Then the second part will hit on Friday.  As with any major storm once the ‘eye’ or centre passes over winds turn 180 degrees.  We’re expected severe south westerly winds to bring snow to the far South and gales to parts in the east starting Friday and easing Sunday”.
TRN’s Weather Watch Centre will closely monitor this storm over the next 5 days. 
Wednesday – Low deepens in the Tasman Sea. Rain spreads from the north down the entire country as the first fronts arrive.  Thunderstorms develop in the far north tonight, some may be severe.
Thursday – Thundery rain eases for many, but unstable air means heavy thundery showers are possible in northern regions. Low moves across New Zealand and winds generally ease.
Friday – the low moves out into the Pacific and behind it, a strong bitterly cold south westerly blast.  Snow may fall in Southland and Otago. Westerly gales may blast Hawkes Bay.
Weekend – Snow, sleet, hail and even gales possible over southern areas south of Dunedin.  Strong cold south westerlies for everyone else, with showers.



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