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It’s one big low after one big low – a very unsettled end to May (+4 Maps)

Damaging gales and massive seas last night slammed Northland, in particular the Far North and northern half of Northland while the calm centre of the low itself sheltered Auckland and spared the region, although a blustery change has moved through today. received a number of reports last night of trees downs and power being cut across upper Northland. The day before it was Waikato with thunderstorms knocking out power, but sparing Auckland from major problems.

While there were two low centres yesterday, one west of the North Island the other east of the South Island, today we’re seeing the northern low fall apart as the main low further south absorbs some of it. 

This now ‘main low’ centred off the South Island’s east coast will on Monday begin to push back against New Zealand, this time from the east.  The low will engulf most of New Zealand in a clockwise airflow so the south westers blowing over Northland and Auckland will circle around and back over Otago and Westland as a south easterly then back around to Northland and Auckland, Waikato etc.   This flow will see the Southern Alps and some North Island ranges break up the rain clouds – making for lines of rain/showers and big areas of dry.  As the low shifts around so too will the air currents and bands of wet weather.  Monday looks wetter and colder in Auckland and Waikato after a mostly dry air flow across Sunday.

This wet, cold, air flow means more snow for the South Island ranges and ski fields too – and some for the North Island.

On Tuesday a burst of energy out of the Southern Ocean will transfer the low over the South Island back into the Southern Ocean and create a much bigger storm system over the country.  The air flow will shift from southerly quarter to westerly, then north west.  Then another cold front on Tuesday tracks in from the west with a burst of downpours and isolated thunderstorms.  Snow may also fall to lower levels in some parts of the South Island, like Queenstown area.  It’s a bit touch and go – so keep an eye on our forecasts, we now cover every town and small community in New Zealand  (see our homepage or free app to get a 10 day forecast for your location).

On Wednesday heavy downpours will affect western parts of the North Island, upper South Island and later Fiordland and Southland. Dry in many other places, as always thanks to our mountains and ranges blocking some of the rain bands.

By Thursday this large low will lie east of New Zealand and it will start to track quickly away from New Zealand.  

That isn’t the end. 

The weather in New Zealand will calm down for a brief time on Friday with dry and sunny conditions pushing back in to many places.  However look across the Tasman Sea early Friday morning and a small low will begin to rapidly form just south east of Sydney. By Friday night it will engulf the entire Tasman Sea with thunderstorms, heavy downpours and possibly gales – affecting New Zealand from this Friday night to next Monday morning potentially. This is still several days away so the models may change a bit, but many are in agreement that another large low could form. is forecasting an unsettled rest of May with windy west to south west winds kicking off June’s first week…and the first week of winter. Dry weather may also return to eastern areas due to this strong WSW flow.


Monday AM

Noon Tuesday – next burst of heavy downpours and isolated thunderstorms move in from the Tasman.

Friday 3am — Models picks a small low just SE of Sydney.

3am Saturday and suddenly the low engulfs much of the Tasman Sea.  With rapidly forming lows like this the computer models can change, especially the overall shape and size of any low – so check the Maps tab on our website/app for updates across the week.  We’ll keep you posted in daily news updates too. 

– Image / Tuesday Noon /




Guest on 22/05/2016 6:19am

we have only 66 mils this month and we should a round 200mils…..theres no rain in your lows…its our third driest may in a row….so do el ninos last more than a year as there wasn’t much rain this time last year

WW Forecast Team on 22/05/2016 8:12am

Hi there – we agree, these lows are so large the rain is missing big chunks of the country.  Where abouts are you generally?  

Kind regards


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