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Spring has blossomed into life today as strong westerly winds lift temperatures up and down New Zealand.
The Radio Network’s head weather analyst Philip Duncan says the mercury has reached into the lower 20s right up the country’s east coast.  “In Napier, Hastings and Gisborne the temperature is currently around 20 degrees, while in the South Island the famous nor’wester has kicked in with Timaru currently on 22 degrees and Christchurch, Oamaru and Dunedin all reaching 20 today”.
Duncan says overnight gales of 100km/h blasted inland Southland and says today those gales have shifted further north.  “Castlepoint is currently getting gusts to hurricane force, about 130km/h while inland Hawke’s Bay is getting gusts over gale force at around 80km/h”.
“The reason for the strong winds is a depression centred over Southland pushing against an anticyclone centred over Northland.   The two systems are relatively close”.
Duncan says winds will ease in the North on Sunday but a return to gales is expected in the lower South Island early on Monday.  “Strong westerlies are a definite sign that Spring has now arrived”.
INTERNATIONAL WEATHER CENTRE – 3 Major tropical storms on the go:  Mexico and Japan on alert.
All eyes are back in the Caribbean as Tropical Depression 6 gathers strength.  The depression is expected to officially become Tropical Storm Felix within the next 36 hours.  Forecasters believe Felix will reach Category 2 hurricane status before making landfall.  The potential hurricane is expected to track further south than Dean however forecasters warn he could make landfall in the same part of eastern Mexico.  Not only that, but the area for potential landfall stretches as far north as the Mexico/Texas border.
It’s not just Mexico’s east coast that has forecasters on alert.  Tropical Storm Henriette in the eastern Pacific is expected to hit Mexico’s west coast with flooding rains over the next couple of days.
And in the western Pacific, Japan could be bracing itself for a destructive storm.  Typhoon Fitow is gathering strength and could make a direct hit to central Japan the middle of this week.



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