SKIES have started to clear in the South Island but it’s a different story in the North as temperatures plummet and squalls create hail and winds up to severe gale force. The Radio Network’s head weather analyst, Philip Duncan, says conditions are going down hill in the North Island and it’s going to be a stormy afternoon and evening. “Auckland is now seeing gusts to 120km/h, while further south in New Plymouth winds are gusting to 100km/h”. This photo taken by our Taranaki Weather Watch reporter Greg Taylor shows the fury of the gales at Back Beach this afternoon.
Mr Duncan says the bulk of the wintry rain squalls is now moving in to the Taranaki and Wanganui regions with thunder, hail and a moderate risk of small isolated tornadoes. “Damage is possible from these short sharp showers especially if the winds starts to spiral into a small tornado. They come out of no where and lift roofs, fell trees and cut power”.
Driving is also expected to be hazardous with hail storms across most western and southern regions. Snow is also expected to increase on the Desert Road this afternoon.
Skies have cleared some what in the South Island however gales of 113km/h are battering Kaikoura with the air temperature just 4 degrees. “Our in the wind it will feel like it’s well in the negatives. This is a nasty but short lived storm”.
Earlier this morning Christchurch was hit a by a fierce hail and snow storm that lasted only 10 minutes but left parts of the city white.
Incredible clouds just seconds before hail storm in Christchurch. Image by South Island Weather Analyst Richard Green.
Duncan says another aggressive front will spread up the country tomorrow afternoon and evening with an increased risk of hail, gale force winds and small but potentially destructive tornadoes.