It was slow moving and Auckland was spared a deluge at the last minute but the large Tasman Sea storm still gave much of the North Island a drenching. Heavy rain fell overnight, mostly across western and central areas of New Zealand and is still yet to clear eastern areas of the North Island. The Radio Network’s Head Weather Analyst, Philip Duncan, says he’s stayed in touch with the Weather Watch Centre’s 30 reporters around the country and some of the reports coming in have been “amazing”. “One of Taranaki reporters, Brent Proctor, told me his property received an incredible 105mm of rain in less than 24 hours, until 4am this morning”.
“Our Weather Watch reporters also mentioned very heavy rain in New Plymouth along with a good electrical storm and torrential rain along the Kapiti Coast”.
Strong winds predicted by Government forecaster, MetService, stayed away in Auckland while a band of torrential rain snapped in half just minutes before making landfall. The heavy rain skirted around Auckland drenching Northland and Waikato instead. “Rather than saying Auckland’s forecast was wrong, I believe Aucklanders were simply lucky. It was a close call and flooding was highly possible an before the front moved in”.
On a positive note Duncan says this will be the nail in the coffin for any remaining drought regions. “But I think we [farmers] should be prepared for further sub-tropical drenchings like this, thanks to La Nina”. Duncan points out La Nina is finally living up to its name after a surprisingly dry Summer.
“Yesterday was mild and calm for many places but today this low will cross the country with the strongest winds and heaviest showers near its centre. Western areas especially between Taranaki and Wellington will cop the brunt of heavy showers this afternoon, with more thunderstorms. Canterbury should also see some thunderstorms as this cold front races up the Island”.
And as rain warnings are gradually lifted today all eyes will move to the South Island as the tail end of the storm dredges up cold Antarctic air. “When the back end of this storm passed over Melbourne and Tasmania on Monday temperatures plummeted to near freezing. This will happen to Southland, Otago and Canterbury later today and tonight with wind chills dropping to near or below freezing for a number of areas in the far South”. Duncan says snow showers are expected to fall as far north as Central Plateau by the weekend, with snow flurries also possible across Central Otago this weekend.
Duncan says the cold snap will move up the South Island this afternoon and intensify overnight with most of New Zealand feeling a significant chill in the air either later today or by the end of tomorrow. “This week is starting off like Summer and ending like Winter”.
The low should clear central New Zealand overnight tonight with high pressure quickly spreading in from the north, ending those cold winds pretty quickly for the North Island.