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Gales & heat build as stormy weather arrives

Northerly winds are now reaching gale force in Wellington as severe wind warnings come in to action across the lower North Island, meanwhile temperatures have soared in eastern areas of both islands.

Gusts of over 115km/h are affecting the hilltops and up to 85km/h in the city itself.  Gusts this high will make towing caravans over the Rimutakas dangerous and advises all motorists driving over State Highway 2 around Wellington and Wairarapa to be aware of the building gales.

Head weather analyst Philip Duncan describes the current weather pattern as “spring 2009 continuing in to summer 2010”.  

“This really is a bizarre spring weather pattern for this time of the year and we see it continuing for Wellington and much of the South Island well in to next week”.

Gisborne is currently 29 degrees with Hawkes Bay in the lower 30s.  Christchurch has 28 and Auckland 25.

Large highs in the northern Tasman Sea are producing a buffer zone for the rest of the North Island but for all other areas severe gales, wild temperature changes and torrential rain are all in the forecast.

“Yesterday saw Christchurch reach 33 degrees by 11am before a cooler change moved through dropping the temperature to around 20 in the early afternoon.  Further south and at the same time yesterday afternoon Dunedin was on just 12 degrees while inland and Wanaka was near 30”.

Winds up to 160km/h battered Stewart Island the other day and cut power to some homes in Invercargill.

More weather warnings have been issued by MetService – including over a dozen rain warnings for western areas which may affect campers and trampers.

You can see all the current warnings here.

What are conditions like where you are?  Have your say by posting a comment below.


Diana on 3/01/2010 4:59am

Windy & rather warm around 24 degrees the humidity is well up. Increasing cloud, but no sign of rain. We do need it.. perhaps a rain dance we will need to do. But this wind will blow the rain clouds away from us as usual. Palmerston north may get a bit being close to the ranges, but nothing in the oharkea area as yet. all’s calm here.

Andrew on 3/01/2010 3:22am

Is it really ‘bizzare’ to have a briefly strong westerly flow over the country in early January? Spring-like westerlys often continue well past Christmas before returning in March or earlier. Talk of our current weather being ‘weird’ or ‘bizzare’ is just bizzare. Unsettled, yes.
Look at weather records going back 20 or 30 years and you’ll see that it’s not that that unusual.

WW Forecast Team on 3/01/2010 4:23am

These westerlies have been affecting southern New Zealand since October – unusually to see so many days with gales there and strong nor’westers further north for so long – and more to come too.


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