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        Storm the size of Australia sliding to the South of NZ
        Cold snap moving in – Farmers: “be prepared”
The huge storm that has blasted the South Island overnight is now moving its severe wind and rain into the North Island.  The deep low, which is spread over an area the size of Australia, is in fact well south of New Zealand, but its strong winds are being felt over thousands of kilometres.  The Radio Network’s Head Weather Analyst Philip Duncan, says the worst winds are now moving into the North Island.

Wellington is been pounded by winds up to 100km/h, stretching to severe gale on hill tops at 130km/h.  Auckland is getting gusts to gale force now and up to 95km/h in exposed hills around the city and I expect that to increase in the next 12 hours.  There is the possibility for some damage in Auckland, mainly to trees”.  Duncan says parts of Taranaki, Hawke’s Bay and Gisborne are also seeing gusts up to gale force while Castlepoint has been receiving winds up to hurricane force.
The strong winds are also bumping up temperatures, with 18 degrees recorded in eastern Coromandel Peninsula and a balmy 20 degrees for Hastings early this afternoon.
Overnight the South Island received a battering with Wanaka rattled by thunderstorms, severe winds and power cuts.   
The front main front is now lying over northern Southland where the winds have quickly eased and turned to much colder south westerlies.   “There is a distinctive line were the front is.  Currently in Dunedin gale force nor’westers are reaching near 100km/h and it’s a mild 19 degrees in Oamaru, while down the road in Invercargill where the front has passed the temperature has plummeted to just 4 degrees, and a “feels like” temperature of minus 2 degrees”.
“Another cold front will arrive on Sunday morning in the far South with even colder air behind it – we’re warning wind chills could be extreme and snow may fall to low levels about Southland and Otago.  Farmers should do be prepared to protect their newborn animals”.  Global weather giant is predicting a high of just 6 degrees in Invercargill tomorrow and only 4 on Monday and Duncan says wind chills will be well into the negatives, possibly colder than minus 10 inland.
“The entire country is going to feel a shock to the system in the next 24 to 48 hours as temperatures continue to drop following cold fronts.  It will be a very cold start to the week”.
Duncan says it’s not all doom and gloom though, with warmer temperatures on the way by end of next week.
– Storm could be on the of the biggest on the planet at the moment…air pressure well down below 940mb
– Spring-like temps to return to Northern and Eastern North Island by end of next week.
– Snowfalls likely for both islands ski fields.



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