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Snow is falling to low levels acrss the South Island as an Antarctic blast heads northwards.  Snow has fallen across Southland with snow also falling through central regions of the South Island.  Our Weather Watch reporter in Invercargill, Mark Whaley, says they’ve just had a heavy hail storm and now there are snow flurries in the city. 

Thick hail in Invercargill in the past few minutes.  Image by Mark Whaley, TRN Invercargill.

The past few hours have kicked off two days of violent winter weather for the country with thundery rain across the western North Island, gales over Wellington and snow heading north in the South. 

The first and main front is currently making its way up the South Island and will pick up speed during the day.  “Hail, thunderstorms, small tornadoes and gusts to gale force will move up the nation’s west coast, with the worst this morning in the South Island, and the North Island’s turn this afternoon ” says head weather analyst Philip Duncan.  “Snow will lower to near sea level around coastal Otago and South Canterbury.  It’s going to be a bitterly cold day”.

Ominuous sign.  The cold front moving up the South Island, as seen here this morning in Ashburton.  Image by our local Weather Watch reporter Gareth Thomas.

“During Wednesday gales are expected across many regions with another cold front coming through in the afternoon affecting the entire country, mostly the west coast regions”.  Duncan says this front will also bring squalls, hail, thunder and another moderate risk of small isolated tornadoes.

Currently a band of rain is moving across the North Island.  The band with the snow in it is currently about half way up the South Island (at 9:45am).  By noon that southern front will lie over Wellington.


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