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Snow at Larnach CastleAfter a stormy weekend that saw our coldest polar blast so far of 2008 the skies will clear across the nation by Tuesday and the strong cold sou’westers will slowly ease. 

A large high pressure system is moving in from Australia and children enjoying the school holidays will finally be able to get out doors as the weather improves.   (snow at Larnach Castle near Dunedin.  Photo by weather watchers Gail and Janos).

Radio Network head weather analyst Philip Duncan says one weak front may drag some cloud and showers over the North Island today but most places will see a big improvement.  “By Tuesday a ridge of high pressure will move in across all of New Zealand bringing with it clear skies, little wind but also severe frosts”.

It’s been a very frosty area for some today, -3 in Hamilton and Tokoroa and -5 in Waiouru.

Duncan says inland Otago will see temperatures dropping to minus 6 or 7 overnight tonight with similar temperatures for Central Plateau.  “With so much moisture on the roads from the weekends snow and rain black ice is highly likely across our nation’s roads and highways.  Motorists should take extreme care when travelling early in the mornings in both islands”.

And more snow could be on the way for the Desert road today  “There still are a few lingering snow flurries.  Hopefully by Tuesday morning the skies will finally clear”.

The weather is expected to be fantastic for skiers eager to get out for the first time this year.  “The forecast for ski fields in both islands looks good all week.  The next system will start to roll in to the far south later on Thursday so until then it should be mostly clear skies and relatively light winds”.

Duncan says the looming low pressure system is likely to deliver strong winds to the South and Central parts of the country by the weeks end.  “Gale nor westers are quite possible with this system so we should see windy but warmer conditions for next weekend”. 

Mr Duncan says the next belt of cold air looks set to move over the nation briefly next week when the nor’west winds turn southerly.  “It’s too far out to say what the next system will deliver snow-wise but it’s safe to say that winter is now fully in control with the next few weeks expected to be the coldest for the year”.



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