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Blast of cold air moving up the country
“Definite change in the weather pattern”
Lower temperatures are on the way for most of New Zealand as a depression over the South Island sucks up cold air from the Southern Ocean.  The blast of cold air will mostly affect coastal regions from Invercargill to Wellington with the east coast most exposed.  “Day time highs for the main centres in those areas will only reach 14 or 15 degrees coupled with wind chills some ares will only feel like 10 degrees” says head weather analyst Philip Duncan. 
The cold snap is expected to trigger thunderstorms along the central west coast with Kapiti, Manawatu, Wanganui and Taranaki most exposed today. 
Overnight lows are also expected to plummet with temperatures falling as low as a couple of  degrees in some parts of Canterbury and Otago over the next few nights.
Philip Duncan says it’s clear that Summer’s peak is behind us.  “It’s always the news a lot of us hate to hear but Autumn weather is now forming, with a definite change in the weather pattern”.  He says the high pressure systems are now less intense and are no longer forming a continuous line over the country, instead lows are now forming after each high has passed.  “This is great news for farmers, showers or rain are appearing in the forecast more and more”
But despite the brief cold change this weekend don’t expected to be reaching for your heater just yet.  “While Summer’s peak may be over it doesn’t mean we’re into winter – not by a long shot!  Daytime highs will still reach the mid 20s for many and dry days are still significantly out-weighing wet ones”.
Duncan says March is traditionally a warm and dry month but the change from Summer to Autumn weather can often produce severe thunderstorms in western areas.  “This year, with more humid, warm, weather over the north, we could certainly see an increase in thunderstorms as the colder air moves in from the south, either in March or April”  He says the West Coast of the South Island, Taranaki, Waikato, Bay of Plenty and Auckland are most exposed to this violent weather.
The next high pressure system is expected to move on to the country on Sunday and Monday giving a few days of settled, warmer weather for the start of next week.



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