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Polar blast coming in – Latest time line

Updated 8:50am — The major Antarctic blast is now well on its way to hitting New Zealand – but the timing of it may now be slightly later than in previous news reports and forecasts.  Either way the country is in for 48 to 72 hours of wild winter weather at a level not often seen in New Zealand.

The best information has to hand shows the cold blast roaring into the southern half of the South Island during Wednesday afternoon.  Many other areas north of Christchurch may still be fairly mild compared to Southland and Otago during Wednesday.

By Thursday morning the southerly will be working its way through Canterbury with Southland and Otago fully exposed to the south east blast directly off the Antarctic ice shelf – where temperatures were predicted to drop to near -40C overnight at Scott Base.

Also on Thursday morning energy from the cold blast will be pushing up the west coast of New Zealand and curving around into northern New Zealand as a strong to gale force sou’wester.  Heavy showers, hail and thunder are also possible – including in Auckland and Hamilton – during Thursday.

By Thursday night hurricane force southerlies will be blasting central New Zealand possibly with gusts up to 150km/h from Kaikoura to Wellington and southern Wairarapa – but may be more extreme coastal areas rather than main centres.  The wind chill will be near zero for exposed parts of Wellington, and below zero for Christchurch and Dunedin with wind chills in some exposed parts of the South Island dropping to -10 to -15.

Farmers should be moving stock urgently to protect them from bitterly cold easterlies to southerlies (the SE quadrant).

Snow is likely to low levels in Wellington from during Friday – especially later – with the chance it may fall to sea level for a time – but latest data suggests not much may fall.

Snow may be widespread up the eastern coastline of the South Island across Thursday and into Friday.

by Friday this major storm will be pushing into the North Island with damaging winds possible along eastern areas.  Snow may be heavy through Central Plateau and eastern areas may be cut off to the north and south if snow closes the major highways – which is possible.

With severe gales, snow to sea level and heavy rain it’s likely there will be significant air travel delays on Thursday and Friday, along with road closures and possible ferry services cancelled.

Friday looks to be the coldest day nationwide, with saying the majority of New Zealand will be colder at lunchtime on Friday than they were overnight..

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Guest on 19/06/2013 2:47am

Will the snow settle in Oamaru. It is still very wet here and raining now. The snow always misses us but we want to know if it will be white in the morning 🙂

WW Forecast Team on 19/06/2013 2:54am

Check out our FAQ story on our homepage – and our recent video about the difficulty of predicting snow – we think you’ll get some, but still unclear if it will be much.

– WW

Debs on 18/06/2013 9:53pm

Thanks Weather Watch for your in-depth weather reporting; as a total weather geek, I don’t know how I’d get on without you! Keep up the excellent work xx

WW Forecast Team on 19/06/2013 12:17am

Thanks for the kind words Debs 🙂


Hector on 19/06/2013 3:45am

what is the snow prediction for Queenstown on friday?

WW Forecast Team on 19/06/2013 3:49am

Snow showers easing at this stage, clearing by night time certainly – then severe frosts possible if the winds die out.  Oh yeah – and COLD!  High of 1 or 2.


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