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It’s taking a little longer than first thought but the storm that has delivered winter to New Zealand this week is tonight giving one final blast of energy to the North Island’s west coast with dangerous squalls moving in.  From Wanganui to Auckland heavy downpours, isolated thunderstorms, hail, gales and small tornadoes are possible between 6pm Wednesday to noon Tuesday (originally midnight tonight however the Weather Watch Centre has now increased the risk period a further 12 hours due to the system slowing down slightly). 

Head weather analyst Philip Duncan says residents in those regions should take extreme care if outdoors overnight.  “Our Weather Watch Centre is advising motorists to take extreme care and we’re also advising the public to stay indoors if possible.  The risk of tornadoes, while small, is still significant.  As we saw last year [in Taranaki] they can come without warning”.

The latest rain radar at 6pm shows increasing bands of thundery squalls moving in over Taranaki, King Country and Waikato.  “They will increase tonight as this last front moves through.  Not everyone will get hit but for many there is the risk of some severe weather in the next 18 hours”.

Dramatic shot of waves slamming New Plymouth’s waterfront Wednesday afternoon. Photo by Greg Taylor, TRN.

Duncan says bitterly cold air will blast over the entire North Island overnight with conditions slightly improving slowly tomorrow.

“There will be some heavy showers first up but conditions should ease for many, especially after lunch.”

Duncan says the next system will arrive on Friday and into Saturday with snow in the lower South Island and showers and wind everywhere else.  Sunny, calmer, weather is on the way for early next week though as a high moves in”.


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