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Week in Weather: What’s Been Making Headlines this Week

Another crazy (and chilly!) week on our shores, while things continue to heat up across the Tasman – and some worrying news from the far, far north.

The country was plunged into its first true winter storm at the beginning of the week, with temperatures plummeting pretty much across both islands as the low pressure system moved up and over New Zealand.
First the system hit the lower South Island, where it closed roads, schools and businesses in Otago – from Invercargill up to Dunedin.
There was also a close call, as a woman was almost crushed by a toppled shipping container in Dunedin on Saturday as wind gusts of up to 120km/h wreaked havoc in the south.
Ploni White was helping take items out of her family’s container when a gust ripped through Ravensbourne, Dunedin, with such force a nearby container began to fall towards her. “It missed me by inches,” she said.
Snow quickly turned to black ice and became a hazard for southern motorists, too, while school start times were pushed back to prevent accidents during rush hour.
The system then moved its way north, where temperatures across most of both Islands were well down on usual for late May.

As the storm system moved north, the team at Antarctica NZ enjoyed some truly spectacular sights – as Scott Base’s permanent residents caught these beautiful pictures of an aurora on camera.
At the other end of the globe, NIWA scientists have been studying the worrying decrease in arctic ice – and their findings suggest that large waves may be to blame for breaking the sea ice up on a scale larger than thought previously.
The finding comes from researching how the Southern Ocean’s biggest waves were affecting Antarctic sea ice.

Moving across the Tasman, and Australia has certainly enjoyed a memorable May – with record high temperatures in both Sydney and Melbourne this month.
Added to this were some extreme weather events, too – with wind, rain and storms lashing the states of Victoria and New South Wales in the midweek.
Eastern VIC and southern and central NSW saw the worst of the conditions as several bands of severe thunderstorms and heavy rain swept across the states.
Wind gusts were most powerful in the Alps, reaching 117km/h at Mount Buller and 115km/h Thredbo.
There was also some big picture news, too – with the weather bureau’s outlook for June to August forecasting a drier and warmer winter in southern and Western Australia, and a warmer season in the north.
Check out that story, here.

A little further afield, to the USA – where an ‘unbelievably big’ mudlside hit about 11 miles southeast of the town of Collbran, a community of about 700 people in western Colorado.
3 people are still missing after the monster slide,estimated to be about 4 miles long, 2 miles wide and about 250 feet deep.

Finally, check out Philip Duncan’s latest forecast for the long weekend, here!

– Drew Chappell,

– Picture: NZ Herald


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