HIGH OVER NZ A "RECORD BREAKER"


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2008 is certainly being summed up as a year of extremes and this week is no different.  Some regions had their driest summer on record then their wettest winter.  In July a deep low near Northland just missed out on giving us our lowest air pressure ever recorded - and over the past 24 hours our record book has been broken again - according to Niwa the highest air pressure ever recorded in the South Island and Chatham Islands has just been recorded at 1044hPa - just shy of the national record of 1045.9 set in Wellington in 1889.

The centre of the high (East of East Cape) is estimated to today touch 1050hPa.  Most highs over New Zealand are around the 1020hPa mark.

"This is an incredible high pressure system and seems to be more proof that our weather is becoming more extreme - for whatever reason" says head weather analyst Philip Duncan. 
 
Mr Duncan says it's as if the planet is trying to balance itself out.  "Hurricane Gustav is currently close to 950hPa which is about 50hPa below a normal air pressure reading in Auckland - and here we have a high that is about 50hPa above an average reading.  It really is remarkable".
 
MetService weather ambassador Bob McDavitt says they haven't got any explanation as to why this high-pressure is so high.
 
Other weather enthusiasts are also scratching their heads in amazement.
 
Meanwhile the West Coast is in for deluge - MetService is warning half a meter of rain is possible in the mountains over the next day or two.  
Mr Duncan says the rain bands are being slowed down by the record breaking high out to the east.  Several rain and wind warnings have been issued for the South Island - and they can be found in the weather section at newstalkzb.co.nz.
 
"Trampers are advised to immediately get out of harms way" says Mr Duncan.  "This sort of rain fall is exceptionally high, even for the West Coast".  Rain isn't expected to be so heavy for populated places such as Greymouth. 
 
Strong winds are likely inland Southland and Otago as the air pressure falls behind our large high out east.  "Gales are definitely possible but I think rain is the bigger feature here for the South Island"
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Meanwhile the North Island is in for more settled weather today and tomorrow thanks to that record breaking high.