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BLOG : “Lazy Cat” low

By Head Weather Analyst Philip Duncan

Our next low pressure system in the Tasman Sea is turning out to be a bit of a yawn fest as it tries to make up its mind as to whether or not it can be bothered doing anything to New Zealand. Apart from some rain along the west coast and some pretty cold winds along the east coast on Saturday the low is looking more like a lazy cat on a hot summers day. It’s losing all it’s friskiness and looks more like it’ll just roll over us rather than pounce at us. Still, those in flood prone areas should still be aware of it and keep up to date with it’s progress over the country over the next few days…even a relatively small downpour could have an impact to some people.

The nights have been a little cooler around the nation this week with frosts making a come back here and there. Cold winds – south easterlies – later on Friday and into Saturday may bring some snow to lowish levels near Kaikoura and those winds will probably knock back our highs right over the country during the weekend. But we’ve definitely entered into an unsettled period and I see no signs of big fat highs coming our way anytime soon, just plenty of little low pressure systems popping up all over the place. I think, for those in Auckland especially, showers could become quite a common sight over the next few weeks….and I feel your pain already. Like many people I’m longing to have a nice sunny day…one without isolated showers and one without wind. But I have to admit I’m noticing the extra hour’s sunlight during the day now. The house is warmer when I get home and no longer do I have to burn my fire the second I walk in the door. My cat still sits in front of the non-burning fire though…he hasn’t quite worked out that I haven’t lit it and isn’t quite sure what he’s supposed to do now! I don’t know why I keep writing about cats today!

August last year was a relatively settled month. Our archive at the Weather Watch Centre shows the only real feature was a storm the size of Australia that roared past New Zealand in the Southern Ocean bringing winds of 135km/h to the lower part of our country but leaving most of us well unscathed. July last year was incredibly stormy, much like July this year. But fast forwarding into Spring (September 1st + ) and that’s when our weather really kicks in to gear. October is my favourite weather watching month as it’s often jam packed with gales and lightning.

So back to our low this weekend – the most significant feature is now looking likely to be a minor cold snap. A definite drop in temps. Single digit highs for the South Island’s southern and eastern coasts and a bitterly cold wind chill is likely right up the east coast of both islands – also many highs over the North Island will be capped at around 13 degrees.


Föehn on 7/08/2008 10:52am

On the subject of cats, did you know that cats are quite good at sensing bad weather when it’s coming. I don’t exactly understand how this works, but my theory is that cat’s ears are sensitive to atmospheric pressure changes, in much the same way as barometers are. They don’t have an analogue dial you can read of course, so they do the next best thing. They curl up in a pretty tight knot, tip their heads upside down, with ears flat, and sleep for hours in this position. I can guarantee my cat informs me of bad weather coming 1¬Ω -2 days away, when he does this.

WW Forecast Team on 7/08/2008 11:11am

That’s fascinating!  I’ll have to watch my cat closely!


Matt on 7/08/2008 4:30am

What do you think the chances are for Invercargill to get a light dusting or even a snow flake at all?


WW Forecast Team on 7/08/2008 11:12am

I think a few light flurries, that don’t settle, are possible but they’ll clear pretty quickly.  The air is very dry over the South Island and while some flurries may fall to low levels I personally don’t think much snow will come from this system at all.



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