A storm is gathering strength in the Tasman Sea today and is expected to bring more severe weather to a number of areas across New Zealand.
The Radio Network’s head weather analyst Philip Duncan says winds will pick up across the country today with severe gales expected during Friday or Saturday. “The winds will pick up as a low moving in from the Tasman Sea squeezes against the sluggish departing high. Gales should blast eastern areas from Canterbury to southern Hawke’s Bay, including Wellington during Friday or Saturday”.
Duncan says Wellington will probably be most exposed to the gales.
MetService has issued a number of wind warnings including wind warnings for Wellington and Wairarapa with predictions of gusts to 140km/h tomorrow night.
Duncan says heavy rain forecast for the West Coast could have a significant affect on the hydro catchments. “This is more good news for the New Zealand public and energy companies. Heavy rain will set in tonight and rain or showers will last for a number of days. The freezing level will also be higher which means more rain and less snow – so the moisture will have a faster impact on lake levels”.
Winds have already started to build over Northland and will creep southwards into Auckland and Waikato later today. “After a week of still weather that saw frosts to sea level across Auckland and the Bay of Islands warmer winds will finally move back in”. He says the nor’westers will blast last weekend’s cold Antarctic air out into the Pacific meaning temperatures should be a little higher next week.
Mr Duncan says many New Zealanders will feel a touch of spring in the air this weekend thanks to the warm winds. “We may see temperatues in the mid to late teens but remember we’re still in the absolute middle of winter and more frosts, snow and ice will return in time”.