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Snow falls to sea level in Hobart, polar change reaches NZ this weekend

For the first time in 10 years snow has fallen on Hobart’s beaches and central business district.  The polar change across the ditch is connected to the warm weather today in New Zealand, and was forecast by a week ago.

“This giant Southern Ocean low has been in the models for some time now, it’s developing well south of New Zealand and Australia over the next few days and it’s affecting both nations at the same time” says head weather analyst Philip Duncan.

“The centre of this large area of low pressure is developing between the southern Tasman Sea and Antarctica, pulling air from the ice shelf up to Tasmania and southern Australia, in the form of southerlies, and this pushes the air from Australia over the Tasman Sea to New Zealand in the form of much warmer west to north west winds”.

“As of 1pm it was a stunning 23 degrees in Kaikoura, with those north to north west winds” says Mr Duncan.  Meanwhile, under the same nor’west flow, it was 21 degrees in Christchurch, 18 degrees in Auckland and 17 in Dunedin.

Across in Australia and Tasmania it’s been snowing to sea level for the first time since 2005, according to the ABC.  Read the story just filed by them click here

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New Zealand will remain under a mostly mild westerly quarter wind flow, with the winds mostly blowing from the west to north west until Friday.

The polar southerly reaches New Zealand late Friday night in the deep south, or maybe Saturday morning.  Snow showers to sea level are possible in Southland, Fiordland, Otago – and maybe Canterbury.  It will likely be similar to Tasmania, with newsworthy amounts to sea level, but more serious amounts much higher up above 200 to 400m. 

FARMERS – Freezing wind chills coming for newborns

The main concern now, with an early spring, is for farmers. Some South Island regions may not climb above 7 degrees, with wind chills well below zero, especially at night. The good news is – conditions ‘warm up’ fairly quickly by early to mid next week.  But conditions will be “polar” for a time – adult livestock should be ok, but newborns may need some protection.  We’ll keep you updated across the week at

Still a number of days to go – and the models are still changing a little on snow levels and amounts. We’ll keep you posted with our views and independent data as the week progresses. We also suggest you keep up to date with MetService’s severe weather outlook on their website.



Serenity on 3/08/2015 6:11am

given that this system is hitting Aussie first will it take any sting out of it?

WW Forecast Team on 3/08/2015 11:51am

This system at the end of the week / early next week will do what it wants to do, so we’ll forecast it how we see things unfolding. I don’t tend to over-analyze every possibility although at times of course broad scale movements of high’s / low’s and fronts etc are interesting to follow.


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