Your web browser (Internet Explorer) is out of date. Some things will not look right and things might not work properly. Please download an up-to-date and free browser from here.

Incoming low – what is happening tonight

The sub-tropical low is moving in and the timing of the rain and wind matches our forecasts.  Let’s start with the winds – these are now building around parts of the North Island mostly just WEST of any main ranges. For example, Thames, Paeroa, Te Aroha, Levin, Kapiti.

We have two areas of strong winds.  Firstly, we have gales wrapped tight around the centre of the low in the north.  These are the ones that will rapidly build up tonight (but rapidly ease too) as the centre of the low moves in.

Secondly, we have an area of wind and rain that is disconnecting somewhat from the main northern low.  This is the ‘squash zone’ between the low in the north and higher air pressure further south.  Both zones can be damaging due to the wind direction (which is opposite to the prevailing gale westerlies).

For the upper North Island winds will gradually continue to build late this afternoon – but for some, especially to the SE of the centre of the low, gales will quickly ramp up this evening, again made worse by any ranges or mountains to the east or south east.  In particular this will be the western Coromandel Peninsula and eastern Waikato.

For those in the lower North Island the winds will build this evening and peak during Weds AM. In particular this will affect inland Manawatu, Horowhenua and Kapiti. 

Central Plateau and Taupo are also exposed to these gusty and potentially damaging winds overnight.

However – it is important to note these strong winds are caused more by the geography of the North Island than the low itself.  This is why much larger chunks of the North Island, possibly including most of our main centres, might not be as stormy.

Auckland is in a unique position – the centre of the low is expected to cross the city around midnight.  While this will mean winds ease it also means a burst of gales could affect some exposed areas, especially in the east, for a time this evening.  Gales in Auckland may not be widespread but the risk factor is there for a time this evening. The risk is much higher across the Hauraki Gulf and towards Coromandel Peninsula, which affects places like Whangaparaoa, Waiheke Island and other eastern coastal areas – the further east and more exposed you are the windier it will likely be. predicts the line between gales and the almost calm centre of the low at midnight in Auckland will be less than 100kms.

As for rain – as predicted it has been heavy all afternoon across Coromandel Peninsula and eastern parts of Northland.  For Auckland there has been one hour of heavy rain with another hour to go before it eases.  We don’t anticipate serious issues from today’s rain in Auckland. 

Some Auckland roads and motorways are being affected by surface water which will, unfortunately, slow down commute times this evening.

Finally – with the centre of the low moving in to Auckland this evening it could mean storm surges for some highways – including the nor’western Motorway at waterview, Mission Bay and other eastern coastal highways later tonight. If you have to drive tonight, please take extreme care and keep up to date with highway information, the latest forecasts and weather news.


Your Weather Observations:  What are conditions like where you are?  (don’t forget to say where you are!)


Sam Bearda on 24/09/2013 7:42am

Very strong SEly gales at Waihou, near Te Aroha,
Heavy rain since 3pm.

Guest on 24/09/2013 7:18am

when are they going to tell the truth according to the above story, there is a calm in the middle of the “low”. That is a reference to a Hurricane. Do these people think those of us in NZ are stupid!

WW Forecast Team on 24/09/2013 8:06am

Calm in the middle of a low is a reference to ANY low pressure system that has a defined calm centre.  The use of the term "eye of the storm" is directly from hurricanes but these days is used to describe a calm centre to a stormy low. The "eye" can be seen either on a satellite map (correct reference) or on rain radar. Take a look at our wind maps and you’ll see the "calm in the middle of the low" perfectly.  This low at the moment also operates just like a cyclone/hurricane does in many ways – the winds build up from one direction, are strongest around the centre, calm in the middle, followed by winds the following day from the opposite direction that become just as strong.



Gary on 24/09/2013 6:26am

Mangonui – Doubtless Bay Far North, some earlier rain, more like showers, but not much of it, and the forecast winds for this region have not eventuated, we are facing South East on Mangonui Harbour and at 6.23pm, there is barely 10 knots of wind, might have to reach for the code zero…………….
Sky is breaking blue now, with southerly track in the clouds. Low centre looks to have held out a bit more to the East than predicted.

guest on 24/09/2013 5:00am

Got cricket tommorow on a scale of 1-10 how bad do you think


WW Forecast Team on 24/09/2013 5:35am

Chances are I think you’ll be rained out. 8 to 10??

Aaron 🙂

Guest on 24/09/2013 4:50am

Hi guys , not much mention but how does the wind seem for masterton tonight/tomorrow? thanks heaps

WW Forecast Team on 24/09/2013 5:33am

Hi there

I’d expect strong southeasterly winds to develop this evening, and they may gust to gale force at times then easing overnight, the first half of overnight winds could still be strong and gusty. A very similar story for much of the North Island tonight.

Have a watch of this video here if you like:

Or click through these maps


Guest on 24/09/2013 4:41am

Heavy rain since about 3.30pm. Winds have just increased in strength (since about 4.15) not damaging yet but strong. We are on the high ridge that runs south of coatesvill so are quite exposed to the wind.

View more comments

Related Articles