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.

Thunderstorms – where and when

My favourite topic, thunderstorms of course. Are any due near you in the near future?

Well early this morning Banks Peninsula had a close call, a band of thunderstorms moved north just off the coast of Canterbury. Had it been day time and this same area of instability was to move over then thunderstorms would have been likely across Canterbury but it escaped this time.

Tomorrow a front moving onto the West Coast of the South Island will likely see thunderstorms there with heavy downpours likely, first starting off in Fiordland and South Westland during the afternoon and evening then there could be some bright flashes about on Wednesday night in North Westland and Buller.

A few of these storms may spread east of the main divide into Central Otago and the Canterbury foothills as the front mentioned above progresses north but any lightning activity may be limited in these areas.

Overnight on Wednesday an upper cold pool of air moves over Fiordland bringing unstable air so a further period of storms is likely there too.

While still uncertain due to it being 4 or 5 days away a further window of opportunity for some thundery activity appears on the West Coast of the South Island mainly south of about Hokitika overnight on Saturday then Sunday may see storms appear about coastal Otago.

These events are very much based in the South Island. A few storm enthusiasts I know from the North Island are holding out for some thundery activity at some point soon as there hasn’t been any in a while.

Even though there is nothing at the moment late January and into February could provide some nice storms about inland Waikato and the Central North Island as has traditionally been the case in some years.

By weather analyst Aaron Wilkinson –


John Gaul on 8/01/2013 5:38am

Yes, I saw that instability this morning on the way to work.
Shame yesterday’s forecasted severe thunderstorms never came to anything although I thought nothing was going to happen anyway as the conditions were not suited.
It looks like the place well so far this summer for thunderstorms seems to be ….
….. and wait for it Eastern Otago
although others have appeared recently in Westland and Marlborough/Nelson and not forgetting the infamous Mayfield Tornado.
We seem to be in a spring time westerly weather pattern resulting in more fronts coming up from the R40s and anticyclones seem to be weak for the guidence of weather systems.
This could also be the reason for the Aussie bush fires in NSW and Tasmania.?

WW Forecast Team on 9/01/2013 2:03am

Hi John

Yes I was almost thinking of going out to Birdlings however something told me they would be just a bit too much offshore and they were.

Yes a pitty about the storms not eventuating in a severe way but one did blow up near Darfield. I believe the forecast only called for a 40% chance of storms actually happening. 20% low risk, 40% mod risk and 60% is a high risk from memory although I may be wrong on that.

Yes east Otago has had it fairly good so far this summer, need the same systems that are giving them the storms and just need to boot them 200km further north. lol. We haven’t had a lack luster season though, if you travel a little there has actually been a few storms happening out there in Canterbury so far this season including yes of course the Mayfield tornado day.

Could be the reason John re the bush fires although that is not my area of expertise.

Catch up soon.


Related Articles