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This unique image shows gales (in purple) swirling around Antarctica and moving in towards NZ (South Island can be seen at top of map, Antarctica centre.  Image courtesy

The cold snap heading towards New Zealand over the next several days means power usage is likely to spike – possibly to its highest point this year according to the Radio Network’s Weather Watch Centre.  The Centre expects bitterly cold air, fired up from Antarctica, to send temperatures falling across both islands by the start of next week.  Highs in the far South will hover around 5 or 6 degrees for a number of days next week. 

In the North Island late Tuesday and Wednesday will see daytime highs falling to around 10 degrees for most places south of Waikato with the ‘feels like’ temperature (which measures the wind on your skin) being much lower.

“It’s possible we’ll see our highest power usage so far this year but it’s not all bad news for the hydro lakes.  Heavy rain is in the forecast for Sunday in the Alpine areas of the South Island, which bodes well for the catchment areas.  The rainfall may well have a significant impact on the water levels” says head weather analyst Philip Duncan. 

“Next week looks pretty stormy for much of the lower South Island”.


Overnight the models weakened somewhat thanks to a large high in the Tasman Sea gaining a little more ground.  This high is going to affect the strength of the cold blast and in this morning’s latest computer models it’s showing the winds tilting more west south west.  That is a slightly warmer direction and may well soften the impact of the blast for eastern places such as Canterbury.  Confidence of snow to sea level in Southland and Otago has also dropped a little but is still pretty strong – around 60%.   By Sunday we’ll have a very good idea just how nasty this southerly will be. 

Meanwhile snow predictions have dropped further in the North Island thanks also to this westerly twist.  Snow is still predicted by the Weather Watch Centre to fall over the Rimutaka Ranges, Tararua Ranges, Hawkes Bay Ranges, Mt Taranaki, the Central Plateau down to Waiouru and Ohakune and across to the Gisborne Ranges.

We’ll have regular updates over the weekend – and if you have any news or photos please use “Contact Us” button at the top of the page.


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