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FAQ’s about the current winter storm

Updated 2:30pm — It sounds a little complicated but by six o’clock this morning the centre of the low (where the hurricane force winds are) was already sliding to the south of NZ while at the same time gale force winds, squalls and thunderstorms had only just begun.

Wrapped closely around the centre of the low are the worst of the winds – and as we predicted yesterday it was really only Stewart Island and the southern coastline of Southland that was most exposed last night and the risk is easing already.

Map – the purple shows the hurricane force winds just brushing Stewart Island at 6am.  The low is tracking south east away from NZ but still growing in size /

Just like the weather bomb earlier this year they are fast to develop and fast to leave.  In that instance it was the small town of Patea and also Wanganui nearby that were worst affected.

However once you move away from the centre of the storm you’re faced with the second significant part to it …or the main event if you like, as it is far more widespread.  This is more along the lines of a typical wintry set up for NZ and something we’re a bit more used to hearing about than weather bombs.

Where is the main front?
As of 2:30pm the leading front was clearing the North Isand.

Where are the thunderstorms?
A number of thunderstorms have boomed across the country today, mainly in Southland, the West Coast, Taranaki, King Country, Waikato and parts of Auckland.  The western coastline and Southland are the two areas most at risk for remaining thunder – but they are likely to be far more isolated this afternoon.  Check out the thunderstorms popping up over NZ already by clicking here.

I heard a rumour that homes may lose their roofs?
It’s now highly unlikely but certainly in isolated pockets the squalls (and potential tornadoes) could lift roofing iron.  The conversation around homes losing rooftops was simply around the very centre of the low – now that it’s moving away from NZ the risk diminishes. 

Where will it snow?
Check out this snow map produced by  However already we’re seeing snow to lower levels, such as sea level in Southland.  Elsewhere we believe this map to be accurate – and note the predicted snow for the Desert Rd/Central Plateau.
6pm Tuesday

What are the chances of a tornado forming?
We think the chances are fairly high today – but with much of the West Coast being rural or national parks we may never hear about any.  So a high risk of one forming, but a much lower risk of buildings being hit.  Watch for those squalls today – coming in from the west and south west if you live anywhere along the West Coast and Taranaki.

Is this a storm in a teacup?
In some ways, yes.  The centre of this low is actually very small – and that’s where the worst of the winds are.  With complicated storms like this it’s easy for the general public to hear only the extreme headlines – it pays to read our news stories direct from the source – we cover risks across the country and were saying yesterday any hurricane force winds would only be for Stewart Island and potentially coastal Southland.   In saying that, we do have plenty of severe weather still about – even if they don’t come with official warnings.  The squalls and thunderstorms along the western coastline are creating dangerous conditions at times while heavy snow continues to blanket parts of Southland, Otago and the Southern Alps.

For more information on this storm and who will be affected, please click here



deepsouthweather on 26/06/2012 4:01am

The winds overnight last night never really eventuated but since dawn Thunder, Hail, Sleet & snow showers has all happened. Roads very icy with a wintery coat covering the ground.

WW Forecast Team on 26/06/2012 4:53am

Thanks very much for the update – we’ve linked to your via Facebook and Twitter – let us know if anything exciting happens this evening!


– WW team

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