For many today has been nothing out of the ordinary but our predicted spring storm is still on the way and is set to pack a punch.
Winds are now gale force in Wellington and while gales haven’t yet arrived in eastern areas of the South Island it’s really just a matter of hours.
“The storm has slowed down but is definitely still on track” says head weather analyst Philip Duncan from the Radio Network’s Weather Watch Centre. “We’re expecting gale force winds to build around Wellington tonight and spread to most southern and eastern areas overnight”.
During the past hour gales have gusted to 90km/h in the Capital and 120km/h on the hilltops. “The centre of the low is now moving on to the West Coast but the worst of the weather will be over the next 12 to 24 hours” says Duncan.
He says winds will pick up considerably after dark and overnight but should start to ease a little in those southern and eastern areas tomorrow however a strengthening sou’westerly will move into north western New Zealand in the afternoon, which includes Hamilton and Auckland.
Possibly the most significant side to this spring storm will be the Antarctic blast arriving in the south tonight. “The rest of the week looks bitterly cold across Southland, Otago and Canterbury. Invercargill may struggle to reach just 7 degrees during Wednesday with sleet and hail falling in the city”.
Wind chills will be brutal and well below zero even at sea level.
“This is not common but Antarctic storms in November are possible, sometimes even December”.
The Weather Watch Centre has issued two Travel Warnings for tonight and Wednesday. The Centre warns winds may gust as high as 160km/h on the Rimutaka Ranges between 9pm Tuesday and 9am Wednesday.
Snow, sleet and hail are likely across Southland and coastal Otago – including the hills around Dunedin – overnight tonight and early tomorrow morning.
Motorists in all these areas are advised to take extreme care.