Squally showers are affecting western parts of the entire North Island this afternoon, similar to last weekend. Photo / Laura Jerome.
Winds gusting 130km/h blasted the Capital this morning causing a few minor problems however, while conditions have eased a little this afternoon, stronger gales are back in the forecast.
Wellington Weather Watch reporter Dave Smart says the day has changed drastically. “It started off stormy and now it’s stunning – it’s still a bit gusty but we have brilliant blue skies”.
In Christchurch weather analyst Richard Green says conditions across Canterbury are similar. “We had gusts over 100km/h earlier this morning and some quite heavy rain overnight however the day has turned out magnificent although the nor’wester is cooler than usual”. Mr Green says the cooler conditions are probably due to the winds passing over the snow laden Southern Alps.
Heavy rain and showers affected central New Zealand too. Earlier this morning our Blenheim reporter Anna Richards said it was pouring in the town which was “very unusual”.
Squally showers, some with isolated thunderstorms, continue to affect western parts of the North Island, especially Manawatu, Wanganui, Taranaki and King Country.
Head weather analyst Philip Duncan says the stormy conditions are moving north and while the weather has cleared further south gales and heavy rain will return again tonight. “The size of this low is simply impressive… you could place several New Zealands within it”.
“Circling this entire storm, which is centred well south of New Zealand, are many fronts. They will continue to move up and across the country and back down into the Southern Ocean again over the next few days mainly affecting the bottom two thirds of the country. This storm is really only just getting started”.
MetService has today issued severe wind warnings for Canterbury, Marlborough, Wellington and Wairarapa with gusts to 120km/h – possibly reaching 130km/h in exposed parts of Wellington. All current wind and rain warnings can be found here.
Mr Duncan says the winds will pick up again in the South Island tonight, rising to gale force early tomorrow morning in Canterbury and spreading to Wellington in the afternoon or evening.
WeatherWatch.co.nz says motorists crossing the Rimutaka hills may have to contend with gusts as high as 150km/h. The Centre is advising motorists to be well aware of severe winds in exposed places from Canterbury as far north as Hawkes Bay this weekend.
Meanwhile heavy showers are this afternoon showing up on the Auckand rain radar. Northland, Auckland and Waikato are all exposed to the strengthening nor’westers and squally showers. “This showers will be mostly short and sharp but could make driving hazardous, especially coupled with strong gusts”.
The weather is much warmer over the North Island today with Hastings on 21 degrees this hour and 19 in Napier, Gisborne, Whitianga and Whangarei.
Cold, near gale, winds are keeping temperatures low in Invercargill where it’s currently only 9 degrees.
on 15/05/2009 3:17am
Just wondering at this early point what you beleive the snow levels will be like in Southland?
on 15/05/2009 3:49am
On Monday it’s looking likely to be around 3-400 metres at the lowest level. Queenstown and Wanaka further north should see some sleety showers and the Crown Range is likely to see some snow, being at a higher elevation.