Snow on the ski fields, heavy showers at sea level and a biting southerly change is currently heading northwards as winter finally kick starts across the country.
WeatherWatch.co.nz says temperatures will drop as far north as Northland tonight as the cold change comes through with daytime highs down “several degrees” in some northern areas tomorrow compared to highs over the past week.
Snow is predicted on Mt Ruapehu and Mt Taranaki this afternoon and evening while showers, some heavy with hail, are expected to affect western parts of the North Island, including Auckland and Hamilton.
A few isolated thunderstorms are possible as the cold change sweeps in.
For eastern areas conditions will be drier but the cold change will still move in tonight if it hasn’t done so already.
On Sunday temperatures will be well down across the North Island compared to previous weeks with some places six of seven degrees cooler – in particular the Auckland and Northland regions.
Another colder surge of air is predicted to arrive on Tuesday and Wednesday and WeatherWatch.co.nz says snow will fall on ski fields in both islands with snow to fairly low levels around Queenstown.
Head weather analyst Philip Duncan says unusually it’s the North Island that may see heavier snow than the South Island. “We’re expecting higher moisture levels in the North Island on Tuesday and Wednesday so when that colder change sweeps in rain is more likely to turn to snow in the north”.
“A low is expected to deepen east of Gisborne and will drive in a bitterly cold, wet, south easterly – which will turn rain to snow on the eastern ranges”.
Mr Duncan says heavy snow is expected on the ranges of the North Island from Central Plateau to the Hawkes Bay and Tararua Ranges. It’s unclear if snow warnings will be issued.
WeatherWatch.co.nz says snow is “quite likely” on the Desert Road on Tuesday and especially Wednesday, with Waiouru expected to only reach 3 degrees on Wednesday with snow flurries in the area.
Despite the cold snap the snow will be brief – with a large high expected to roll in immediately afterwards locking in the cold.
Homepage image / Snow on the hills of Queenstown, File / Alison Metherell
on 25/06/2011 6:38am
Thankyou weather office for getting the forcast here in Wellington wrong for the last 2 days.
Yesterday showers to rain? Was beautiful all day apart from a period of rain overnight.
Forcast rain today, beautiful again.
Showers forcast tonight but lets see if you can get it wrong again, lets hope.
on 25/06/2011 7:25am
Just as well though. It’s been a very cloudy month for central NZ, and we’ll fall short of the average even after the sunny Fri & Sat – unless next week’s SE stuff fails to eventuate. Delighted to get these 2 days.