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Three lows merging over New Zealand today

Written 12:52pm, Tuesday 18th Jan, 2011

A significant development is occuring in the skies above New Zealand this afternoon as two ex-tropical cyclones and a low that contributed to the flooding in Victoria merge. forecasters say the merger of these three systems may actually help decrease the predicted severe winds over some parts of the country.

“The air pressure is falling across New Zealand and the area of low pressure is increasing.  That makes for unstable conditions but actually helps lower the wind speeds” says Mr Duncan.  “The energy of these three lows is being dispersed across an area that’s over 2500kms long”.

Yesterday Zelia’s destructive winds covered an area only about 100kms wide, making it a very small cyclone in size, but still an intense one.  It’s this narrow window of gales that make predicting landfall and areas worst hit so difficult.

But now a new low is forming, absorbing the energy of all systems and spreading that energy further afield.

Mr Duncan says it’s a bit like pushing your finger against an inflated balloon that’s leaking air – eventually the pressure lowers and the balloon goes flat and that’s similar to the air pressure over us.

However has maintained that wind would never be the main feature of these systems with Zelia continuing to rapidly fall apart, as predicted.

But Zelia and Vania may actually have a long term impact on New Zealand, with now predicting the sub-tropics will be lingering around the upper North Island for the rest of January.

“Zelia and Vania have help pulled the tropics down over the upper North Island so we can expect more muggy, wet weather this weekend and into the next 10 days”.

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Mr Duncan says it’s a bit like a bath of cold water with a hot tap running at one end – the ex-cyclones were the hands that helped scoop the hot water and spread it across the bath.

Humidity remains around 98% in Auckland with getting reports of 100% across a number of weather stations in the upper North Island.

Some computer models are picking more tropical storms in the Coral Sea in the coming 10 days.

Meanwhile the merger of the three depressions over New Zealand is leading to heavy rain moving into some areas.  Heavy rain is now pushing in to the Far North and the West Coast of the South Island. 

As this new, larger, low forms it is expected to deepen and become aggressive.

It’s the combination of these three systems that prompted the numerous wind and rain warnings by MetService.

As this new larger low moves off the east coast of the South Island tomorrow it is expected to intensify quickly, pushing a strong southerly up the country, however due to its fast departure a sunnier, calmer, day is predicted over New Zealand on Thursday.

By Friday and/or the weekend more sub-tropical developments will affect the upper North Island.



Guest on 18/01/2011 12:49am

I can see three more lows developing in the pacific, any predictions on what these might do over the next week?

WW Forecast Team on 18/01/2011 1:15am

Hi there, yes we’ve been watching the models predict those lows for two days now.  Other modelling isn’t backing the GFS predictions but they do agree that there will be a very large area of unstable conditions north of New Zealand (including northern NZ) starting this weekend and heading through most of next week.  One to watch – and hopefully we’ll have concrete details on Thursday.

– WeatherWatch

Guest on 18/01/2011 12:41am

We’re having really strong gusts of wind now and then and it is incredibly hot!

Brendan Pratt on 18/01/2011 12:31am

Current data for FrameIT Weather Station
Tuesday, 18 January 2011 1:30:08 p.m.

Temperature (°C):
Current 22.2
Trend (per hour) +0.1
Average today 21.2
Wind chill 22.2
Heat Index 22.2
Dew Point 21.7
Rel Humidity 97%

Wind (km/h):
Current Gust 15.8 E
Average Speed 3.7 SSE

Rainfall (mm):
Current rate 7.2
Last hour 0.9
Total today 7.8
Total yesterday 0.6
Total this month 18.6
Total this year 18.6

Pressure (hPa):
Current 1004.6
Trend (per hour) -0.6


Rob on 18/01/2011 12:15am

rain just set in here in Kaitaia with 1006 pressure and 41kph winds. 1.15pm

Guest on 18/01/2011 12:57am

heading up there now for some kitesurfing action on Ahipara

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