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.

We’re stuck in a “high pressure sandwich” as March arrives

High pressure is dominating through parts of New Zealand and while much of the news media is almost entirely focused on downpours and humidity in the north there is a far more serious situation unfolding through central parts of the country as March kicks off. head weather analyst Philip Duncan says New Zealand is currently in a “high pressure sandwich” – a set up that favours high pressure over the middle part of the country while easterlies and showers affect the upper North and showers and westerlies affect the lower South.

“When you have a high pressure sandwich you basically have a bubble of high pressure over the Wellington / central NZ area which pushes back and stops the tropical rain makers from dropping south and blocks the showery, cooler, southerlies from heading north” says Mr Duncan. It leaves the middle part of NZ quite high and dry for weeks at a time. has received a lot of feedback this summer from Wellingtonians talking of a great summer – one of the best in many years say locals. But a positive summer for city folk usually means one thing – a bad summer for farmers and growers.

While this summer has seen a healthy amount of rain and showers across both islands there is an emerging, and somewhat concerning, dry trend now setting in to places like: Wairarapa, Wellington, Kapiti, Manawatu and Wanganui in particular.  Otago and Canterbury also have big dry areas forming again.

But the lower North Island isn’t receiving rain – and the next two full weeks look dry or mostly dry for these regions.

High pressure looks likely to dominate through the middle part of the country, for the most part, for the first half of this month – while the second half may see more rain makers moving back in, it’s still very unclear if the high pressure in the middle of the nation will buckle enough to allow this.  We’ll continue to monitor all the rain possibilities. 


Friday’s rain map shows the sandwich!

Showers and humid easterlies to the north of NZ, showers and windy westerlies to the south – while central NZ, central Tasman Sea and the lower part of Australia is under a ‘stream of high pressure’. / Map for 1pm Fri via WEATHERMAP




Related Articles