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Wintry blast arrives, first stop Southland

Brace yourself for a taste of winter ’09 – a brief polar blast is about to move up the South Island bringing gales, thunder and even snow, especially tonight.

This morning a strong south westerly change arrived in Southland.  Temperatures continue to fall as winds steadily pick up.

As of 12noon it was opnly 8 degrees in Invercargill with a sou’wester gusting 75km/h.

A deep low in the Southern Ocean will move into the Pacific Ocean east of Southland and Otago Tuesday bringing several fronts, each one dragging colder air behind it. head weather analyst Philip Duncan says places south of Wellington will have a taste of winter this week.  “We originally said this week would be Autumnal for all of New Zealand, that remains the case for most of the North Island however we’re shifting it up a gear to ‘Wintry’ for those south of Wellington”.

Mr Duncan says the polar air will arrive in Southland during Tuesday morning and will reach Christchurch in the afternoon.  “There’ll be the typical nor’wester followed by a sou’wester bringing a sharp drop in temperatures – especially after dark tonight”.

Our Invercargill based Weather Watch reporter, Malcolm Gayfer, says the heavy wind and rain arrived around 7am.  .

Mr Duncan says Southland and later coastal Otago will be struggling to get above single digits through until Thursday morning.  “Daytime highs may just peak in the double digits but it’s going to feel much colder due to the wind chill”.

On Wednesday it’s the North Islands turn with the cold south westerly arriving in Wellington well before sunrise. estimates light snow flurries may fall close to a couple hundred metres above sea level in the far south..

South west gales are likely around Southland and Otago with severe gales in higher altitude places.  Strong gusty winds are expected right up the country for much of the week with sou’westers dominating.   

Auckland is far enough north to miss the polar air but Philip Duncan says it’ll be a windy, cooler week with a few brief showers here and there.



Severe Tropical Cyclone Hamish continues its assault just off Queensland’s coast.  The intense category 4 cyclone (out of 5) has hurricane force winds gusting to 250km/h around the eye.  The cyclone has so far remained offshore and is still tracking towards New Zealand.  A large high in the Tasman Sea will slow or stop the movement of Hamish arriving here and that may cause flooding rains to move in to parts of Queensland.  The cyclone is currently just far enough offshore to not cause major damage however these storms are unpredictable.

Australia’s Bureau of Meteorology describes the seas near the eye of the cyclone as “very high to phenomenal”. 

We’ve set up a special link for Hamish including an Australian satellite map of the storm and all the latest data including air pressure, movement and wind speeds. 

You’ll find the link to Tropical Cyclone Hamish by clicking here.


Peter Grant on 9/03/2009 6:34pm

You’re assertion that Autumn is here is well and truly on the ball, only 4.2 degrees here in Fairlie at 7 am, only 5 yesterday. PG

SW on 9/03/2009 5:56pm

Think it will be a longer winter this year,the signs are all there.last years winter was so tame.

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