Your web browser (Internet Explorer) is out of date. Some things will not look right and things might not work properly. Please download an up-to-date and free browser from here.

Strong winds, hail and some snow on the table for Thursday

The weather sure is looking to step up a notch on Thursday across New Zealand as a vigorous southwesterly front moves through. In true ‘spring-like‘ nature the weather settles down over Friday and Saturday with a high rolling in Sunday / Monday and warmer weather next week.

Lets take a look at three main aspects of the weather for Thursday.


Southland is likely to see snow from mid-morning to low levels (200 to 100m). Sea level doesn’t look likely at this stage but sleety showers are possible. Central Otago sees snow showers also, around 500m late morning, lowering to 200m in the evening before starting clear. Coastal Otago sees wintry showers from mid-morning with sleet to sea level and snow to low
levels for much of the day.

The cold change moves into Canterbury around midday bringing wintry showers, understanably snow levels will be a little higher; starting off around 700m as the change hits then lowering to 400m by evening.
Just on dusk or perhaps even as early as late afternoon, showers look likely
to retreat away from inland areas and become more coastal. Snow may lower to
300m on Banks Peninsula around midnight then conditions will gradually ease
there too.

Due to the southwesterly nature of this system, parts of North Otago and South Canterbury will be fairly sheltered from the cold blast and may even remain dry all day. Potentially when the change moves through
there may there be a brief period of showers then they will mostly likely clear away.

Marlborough sees this southwest change move in fairly quickly over early to mid afternoon. A brief period of showers is likely with some snow to 400m for a time before clearing in the evening.

Wellington and Wairarapa see the southerly change move in late afternoon / evening and with it comes
showers, some may be heavy then easing in the evening about Wellington clearing
away to the east. Some snow to 400m for a time, snow flurries
lower to 300m overnight about the Wairarapa ranges.

Finally the Central Plateau is the next stop for some snow to possibly cause issues. Late
afternoon / evening southwesterlies hit bringing showers and snow to 800m,
lowering to 400m around midnight then clearing.

The most likely areas to see potential issues will be Southland, the passes over the main divide in the South Island and about the Central Plateau. If considering travelling through those areas make sure to keep pace with official
watches and warnings from Metservice in regards to snow amounts that may fall.


The next risk will be hail, hail will not likely be of a large size across the country for most although Wellington could see a few biggish stones late afternoon / evening. As this southwesterly front sweeps up the
country most places will be exposed to a risk of hail especially anywhere about
the lower South Island up through to the lower North Island, and while not large
this can sometimes make roads turn white which brings hazardous driving
conditions. So be mindful of this and watch for potential areas of hail on the road.


Strong winds as this front pushes through are likely to whip up. Southland and Coastal
Otago are right in the firing line for strong cold southwesterlies with gales at
times. Coastal Canterbury is next in line as the front pushes north in the
afternoon, the risk perhaps a little lower than Coastal Otago but never the less
gales are still possible. Wellington sees strong southerlies in the evening
although gales may just keep away.

Finally, on the western side of the North Island from about Wanganui through to Northland, strong west to southwest winds are likely most of the day with gales about exposed coastal areas. South of Taranaki winds ease late afternoon onwards.

– Homepage image / Matt Kovesdi

– By weather analyst Aaron Wilkinson



Related Articles