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Blustery winds, hail and thunder rattled houses across the North Island overnight as an Antarctic front moved north and today another cold front is expected to speed across New Zealand this afternoon and evening.   The Radio Network’s head weather analyst Philip Duncan says it’s going to be a very windy day, cold in the North Island and slightly warmer in the South Island.  “Westerly gales will blast much of the North Island today, picking up as the day goes on.  In the South Island those winds will be tilted a little more north west so temperatures will be a little higher in the east where it will also be quite dry, but western areas will really feel the chill”.
Duncan says the second front will arrive late this morning in the South Island and blast northwards very        (hail last night in Auckland…photo by WWC)
quickly reaching Auckland by late afternoon or evening.  “Heavy showers laced with hail and thunder will rattle the western coastline from Auckland to Greymouth and as far inland as Central Plateau.  For coastal regions there’s a slight risk of small isolated tornadoes which, if they hit populated areas, can cause damage”.
Overnight gusts during hail storms producing wind speeds of well over 120km.h across Auckland cutting power and causing minor damage to trees however due to the nature of the storm not everyone was exposed the incidents were isolated. Some hail showers were so intense they made the ground go white.
Gale force winds are expected to batter much of the country during today.  “Really the damage, if any, will come from those isolated squalls.  Gales in winter tend to cause less damage because trees are lighter with no leaves on them”.
Snow and heavy hail storms are being predicted by the Weather Watch Centre for Waiouru and the Desert Road today and with roads closed this morning if they are re-opened it may only be for a short amount of time.  Motorists are being advised to keep up to date with the latest travel conditions from Time Saver Traffic on their local Radio Network radio station or website.
Thursday and Friday should see the showers becoming lighter but winds are still expected to be gusty.  Another front during Saturday is likely to bring another cold snap to the South Island with snow to low levels over Central Otago and the ski fields, with colder weather heading north on Sunday.
A large high may bring a brief spell of settled but very cold weather next week.



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