La Nina remains with us, but only just. The warmer than average sea conditions north of NZ continue to produce big rainmakers in the tropics, in particular the Coral Sea area which can often see lows drifting south into the Tasman Sea.
Storms that form in the Coral Sea pose risks to Queensland, sometimes New South Wales, New Caledonia and sometimes New Zealand. So the fact there is heightened activity there across December and now into January and February too, means it’s an area for New Zealanders to monitor.
However, the high pressure zone coming out of the south of Australia and Southern Ocean area is quite consistent as it tracks from west to east. These highs act as an invisible brick wall, keeping those tropical lows in the tropics and bringing drier weather to NZ for holidaymakers. But each time the centre of a high passes over NZ and then departs to our east it gives an opportunity for one of these tropical lows to drop southwards. It all depends on if there is a ‘gap’ large enough between the departing high and the next incoming high to let a low pressure zone/rain maker drop southwards.
And that is really the focus of the next month or two ahead.
The maps below should help paint more detail for you.
For NZ’s most detailed hyper-local forecasts, please use RuralWeather.co.nz to drill down even deeper – powered by our partnership with IBM Watson.
*Please note, the ClimateWatch video below is our Summer Outlook, recorded Dec 1, 2021. Our next ClimateWatch video update will be on February 1st, 2022.