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Cold front reaches Canterbury, Wellington tonight

Temperatures are tumbling as a southerly spreads up the South Island today. The cold front is bringing rain and then afterwards some snow showers, mostly above 200 or 300m. 

As you can see from the Live Observations we display at most places are dropping into the mid to low single digits behind this front. has had reports of snow flurries in Queenstown and Wanaka and snow showers will likely be more common overnight above a couple hundred metres.

We’re continually crunching the numbers on potential for snow to sea level and once again we must emphasise that sea level snow is NOT the main focus of this event, even if is briefly possible in some parts of Dunedin, for example. Dunedin’s hill top suburbs have the main snow risk.

Generally speaking snow will be heavy above 100 or 200metres – but due to the particular wind flows and mountains some areas may be just cold but fairly dry over the coming days (for example, rain clouds often miss places like Wanaka and Twizel or Alexandra, so snowy weather is no different – there will be some places in a high risk for snow but may only end up with a few flurries due to lack of moisture making it through the mountains/over the ranges).

However as moisture from the north east of New Zealand joins this southerly we may see much higher snowfall totals, like in the mountains behind Kaikoura in the upper eastern South Island, or the Ruahine or Tararua Ranges of the Lower North Island which might get over half a metre of snow high up away from where most people live – but some people do live in these areas and so generally anyone living above 200m in the South Island and 300-400m in the lower North Island may have travel problems due to heavy snow over the next few days.

Remember while this is a bitterly cold wintry event with severe weather potential, it’s not an Antarctic storm so the air being dredged up is not as cold as it could be. 

Keep an eye on our Live Observations page as the cold front moves northwards today, tonight and into Wednesday and Thursday.

– Image – Observations as of 3:10pm Tuesday, click for LIVE version



Guest on 3/09/2018 11:51am

Is there any chance on christchurch getting snow with the next few days or not at all?

WW Forecast Team on 3/09/2018 3:46pm

No chance of Chch getting snow at all.


Guest on 11/07/2017 3:27am

Is chch rangiora area going to get the gales? How strong will winds gust please

WW Forecast Team on 11/07/2017 3:53am

Gales are not currently in the forecast for Rangiora – we have hourly forecasts on our homepage for your location including wind speeds too…Thursday has some chance for blustery conditions, but not damaging winds at this point 🙂


Guest on 11/07/2017 4:43am

Everyone is so different on there forecast for wind , is it hard to forecast the wind? Metservice says cursing 90 km in north canterbury

WW Forecast Team on 11/07/2017 5:58am

Hi there – we wouldn’t exist if we matched MetService! Like restaurants we might have the same ingredients but produce a different product. There have been a number of dramatic announcements about this cold snap and while gales and even severe gales are possible into North Canterbury it’s most likely that the worst will be over the mountains (amongst the mountains) and out through Cook Strait at sea. Wind can be tricky to forecast because of all our mountains and ranges – this can make the winds worse for some but much lighter for others. Keep an eye on our wind maps – they are the best to work out where the worst of the winds will be and North Canterbury is on the edge of it across Thursday – if this drops further south then places like Rangiora may be more impacted, but usually Nor’westers are worse.



Guest on 11/07/2017 6:16am

Thanks heaps,, I prefer your forecasts to metservice much more in depth and well explained xxx

WW Forecast Team on 11/07/2017 6:31am

Thank you, that’s very kind 🙂 


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