We’ll start across the Tasman, where Aussies have been enduring something of a wild winter of their own – as what was described as an ‘ANTARCTIC BLAST’ by some in the news media has delivered some of the coldest conditions seen in years.
A bitter cold snap brought blizzards, snow, gale-force winds and heavy rain across parts of continental Australia over the weekend continued into the week, after snow fell in Australia’s Alpine region (great for skiiers) and the Central Tablelands (not great for farmers).
Snow, gale-force winds and heavy rain continued to plummet across continental Australia through the week, damaging property and buildings – while Tasmania enjoyed “relatively mild” winter temperatures.
In Adelaide, gale-force winds brought down trees and powerlines in the wake of Saturday’s cold snap that saw snow fall in parts of the Adelaide Hills and mid north.
And the week’s big chill in southern Queensland has delivered the state’s most significant snowfall in a decade.
The Bureau of Meteorology (BoM) said up to eight centimetres has been recorded around Eukey and Stanthorpe on the Granite Belt – the highest levels since 2007.
â€” Jaydan Duck (JD) (@JaydanDuck) July 12, 2015
Back on home soil, snow bunnies were out in force in Queenstown last weekend, in what has been described as the best conditions in recent memory.
More than 6000 people tripped to The Remarkables over the weekend, with the combination of Australian and New Zealand school holidays making for a busy couple of days.
To records of another kind, and NASA on Wednesday revealed new images from the New Horizons spacecraft that flew by Pluto one day earlier.
“America’s space program took another historic leap for humankind. Today, the New Horizons team is bringing what was previously a blurred point of light into focus,” spokesman Dwayne Brown said.
Check out some of the images the craft took and transmitted back to Earth, which scientists say give them ‘a banquet of knowledge’ about our mysterious and controversial 9th planet.
â€” NASA (@NASA) July 15, 2015
Back on earth, parts of Auckland were in the firing line of some extremely rough weather on Wednesday, as flooding and heavy rain prompted dozens of emergency callouts to homes in South and West Auckland after a rain storm early in the evening.
The Fire Service were at 60 homes across Auckland, while shift manager Jaron Phillips said 100 111 calls had been received within just three hours.
While the situation certainly merited the extensive coverage it received from much of the media, our Head Weather Analyst Philip Duncan wrote an editorial asking the question “where will it all end?” for sensationalist news media searching for the next shocking headline or “click bait” article. Check the article out here.
As Phil says in the piece, we aren’t the biggest forecaster in New Zealand – but we sure like to think we have the most balanced view on what is happening…because our credibility depends on it!
In another of this winter’s interesting side effects, it’s been all hands on deck at the AA over the past week as sub zero temperatures trigger thousands of car complaints.
Wait times have been up to two hours for a simple jump start, with many batteries unable to cope with the freezing conditions.
Meanwhile, our furry friends are bearing the brunt of the cold too – with vets offering advice to pet owners on how to keep their animals safe and warm through the sub zero winter nights.
And finally, in slightly alarming news, solar scientists from the University of Northumbria have predicted that earth is 15 years from a “mini ice age” that will cause bitterly cold winters during which rivers freeze over – based on a new model of the sun’s activity which they claim produces “unprecedentedly accurate predictions”.
The scientists said fluid movements within the sun, thought to create 11-year cycles in the weather, will converge in such a way that temperatures will fall dramatically in the 2030s.
– Drew Chappell, WeatherWatch.co.nz
PS – This week’s “Friends of WeatherWatch” interview is a doozy – CNN’s head meteorologist Chad Meyers! Check it out here.