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First the rain clouds, then the snow clouds as a southerly change approaches NZ (+4 Maps)

A mild weekend in many areas will give way to a wetter, colder and windier start to the week as a southerly change blows up the nation starting in the deep south on Sunday evening and spreading to most places by Tuesday and Wednesday.

Areas of rain and wind will spread across the country with the coolest air finally reaching as far north as Northland on Wednesday with daytime highs dropping to 16 degrees (well down from the mid 20s lately).  But clearly it’s the South Island most exposed to the cold snap with snow on the ranges and some alpine passes and only mid single digit highs for some towns.

The highs in Queenstown and Wanaka on Tuesday are between 6 and 8 degrees with a chance of snow falling in both centres. While no snow is forecast in Dunedin itself there is a chance of a dusting on the hilltops. Tuesday and Wednesday will be wet in Christchurch but it won’t be cold enough for snow in the city or most of the Canterbury plains at this stage with Darfield, for example, having a forecast high of 8 on Tuesday which is the coldest day. Snow is possible through Arthur’s Pass and other alpine passes however.

Motorists are advised to be prepared for snow on the roads and highways in some South Island regions across next week, especially Tuesday and Wednesday.

WeatherWatch.co.nz now says there may even be snow on the North Island’s Desert Road on Wednesday with the high in Waiouru dropping from 12 degrees on Tuesday to just 5 degrees on Wednesday with snow showers. 

In Wellington and temperatures during the day will only peak at 13 degrees both Tuesday and Wednesday with areas of rain and cold windy southerlies. It will feel wintry for those exposed to the southerly.

Finally Wairoa in northern Hawke’s Bay which climbed to 30 degrees this past week will see the daytime high drop by 15 degrees to only reach 15 degrees this Wednesday. In fact, even Tuesday this week will be in the mid 20s in Hawke’s Bay before the southerly change blows through on Tuesday night and across Wednesday.

– WeatherWatch.co.nz

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