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Groundhog day as thunder, squalls & snow continue

For over a week now thunderstorms and squalls have been rattling western and central parts of New Zealand and heavy snow has affected the lower South Island – and Thursday is no different as yet another surge of stormy weather heads north. says it’s another “wave” of activity all associated with a very large storm in the Southern Ocean that, by the time it leaves, would have affected the country for almost two weeks.

Thunderstorms, hail and potentially damaging squalls will again rush up the west coast of the country with central areas (from Greymouth to Taranaki) most at risk from the the biggest thunderstorms.

Coastal Waikato is also a high risk zone according to

Auckland is at a moderate risk this afternoon along with Northland and Bay of Plenty.  This risk kicks in before the cold change which is due later this afternoon and evening.  It comes with the risk of hail, squalls and isolated thunderstorms, especially, but not limited to, coastal areas.

Meanwhile a snow warning is in place for Southland across Thursday with the government forecaster, Metservice, warning of snow down to 100metres as a southerly change sweeps in on the tail end of the storm. says this storm is proving to be very similar to the big one that hit the country in September 2010 which brought similar severe weather to almost the exact same group of regions, however unlike that storm last year damage is not so widespread and snowfall, at this stage, doesn’t look to be falling as low.

But there is one particularly similarity – eastern areas, such as Canterbury and Hawkes Bay, have again been mostly spared the worst weather.  However overnight Thursday and into early Friday a few light snow flurries are possible to near sea level across Canterbury as the cold southerly change moves in.

That cold change will spread over much of the country on Friday, knocking down temperatures by a few degrees and bringing more snow to Central Plateau. says snow may be heavy enough to close the Desert Road during the afternoon or overnight into Friday.

Wellington will also be affected by the cold southerly change on Friday and Saturday with conditions easing on Sunday.

For those that are over the severe weather there is good news – severe weather conditions will ease in the north by the end of Friday and over the rest of the country during the weekend as a high moves in from the west pushing the rough weather east of New Zealand.

Next week is expected to start off dry and sunny thanks to a large high, but reports that several models are now picking a low to move into the country mid way through next week from the north.

We’ll have more details on this potential sub-tropical low this afternoon.



Doug Bowker on 13/07/2011 11:06pm

We have been getting isolated thunderstorms , torrential squally showers and wind gusts. Driving conditions, particularly in the Opononi area can be hazardous and headlights on is recommended. The Tasman sea is extremely choppy and the cloud coming in at the Hokianga heads is exceptionally low. The thunder seems to be getting more continuous in the Waipoua Forest area. What gets me is that it is 15C and currently no need for a fire.

Cindy on 13/07/2011 9:33pm

Lots of lightning and thunder here at Te Kauwhata this morning around 7.30am……. still very black and gloomy. Heavy rain and hail during the squalls.

Jenette on 13/07/2011 9:29pm

Hi WW can you please coinfirm which areas are under a tornado watch for the next 24 hours?

WW Forecast Team on 13/07/2011 10:40pm

Hi there

First of all we think the risk of a tornado today is very minimal.

Metservice says the tornado risk runs along the eastern coastline of Northland, northern Coromandel Peninsula and the central and eastern BOP coastline for this afternoon and tonight.

We agree with their prediction but do still think the chances are very low.  We think there’s an even lower chanceof one from Taranaki northwards directly on the western coastline up until mid afternoon.

– WW

DeepsouthWx on 13/07/2011 9:14pm

Its now snowing in Invercargill. Temperature 1.8c falling @ 0915.

sw on 13/07/2011 8:27pm

Its been OK here the last 3-4 days,only a few light showers in the day,lightning a couple of the nights,winds not too excessive.

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