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The deep Tasman Sea low that has brought tornadoes, gales, heavy rain and thousands of lightning strikes across New Zealand has finally made landfall in the past hour along the South Island’s north west coast. 

Head weather analyst Philip Duncan says the low will weaken over land but strong winds will pick up as the western side of the storm moves over the country.  “The isobars are packed much closer together on the western side so as the low moves across New Zealand and out into the Pacific that western side will spread over the entire country and that means strong cold southerlies for everyone”.

Gales are gusting over 100km/h in Auckland with gusts within the city centre estimated at over 120km/h.  “The buildings make wind tunnels that can dramatically increase the wind speed.  With gusts reaching near severe gale force flying debris is possible so pedestrians should take care”.

Conditions have gone down hill quickly in a number of areas with gusts up to 80km/h and 90km/h across East Cape, Wellington and the Southland coast in the past hour.

And a cold southerly is kicking in across the South Island with snow  expected to lower tonight.  “A few flurries are likely across Central Otago and into places like Queenstown and Cromwell” says Duncan.  Sleet is possible tomorrow in Dunedin and Christchurch but I think it may be a little too warm for snow.  It will certainly be close though”.   The Weather Watch Centre is expecting highs of only 5 or 6 degrees across eastern parts of the South Island tomorrow and Friday.

Winds should ease in most places during Thursday and into Friday however the cold south east airflow should remain in place, especially over the South Island.  “Farmers needs to be aware that this could cause stress to new born animals.  With the wind chill it will feel below zero from tonight through until Friday”.

Heavier snow is expected this weekend across the South Island’s mountains and the North Island’s Central Plateau.  “A sub tropical low will move down the eastern side of the North Island and the mixture of warm moist air and cold southerlies could create some good snow falls”.


Brendan Pratt on 23/07/2008 5:46am

Hi there its 5:39pm and there is some big table top clouds around (I think they are thunder clouds) but there is not to much wind down at ground leave, be there looks to be a bit up higher, the way the clouds are moving past. There has been passing raining showers all afternoon.

Is it due to get worse tonight, as from what I have read there is meant to, with wind and thunder, rain. Is that still the case?


WW Forecast Team on 23/07/2008 6:50am

No more thunderstorms tonight…just heavy showers and squally winds…conditions should ease Thursday morning…but keep an eye out on our website as sub-tropical low may be on the way and that could impact BoP.



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