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The storm that has brought severe weather to the North Island is having one last gasp tonight as the back end of the system moves into the west coast of the North Island.  From southern Northland to Waitomo very heavy rain and showers are set to move in.  “The latest rain radar shows thunderstorms and rain heavy enough to cause major surface flooding moving into the region”.
Duncan says the system is moving slowly, which increases the risk of flooding.
“This should be the end of it all, and while there is a risk of tornadoes in these regions over the next few hours, it is only a low to perhaps medium risk”. 
As the cold front passes over it will bring significantly colder weather to the districts.
Motorists should be advised to take extreme care across these areas tonight.
Conditions are likely to improve after midnight tonight from Taranaki northwards.



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+ TRN’s Weather Watch Centre leads with Tornado Warnings


Wednesday’s wild weather across the North Island was certainly one to remember.  A total of 3 reported Tornadoes struck New Plymouth, Botany in Auckland and Tauranga consecutively.  Roofs were lifted, fences and cars damaged and several people injured.  “It’s almost unheard of to get three damaging tornadoes in New Zealand within just a few hours” says the Radio Networks head weather analyst Philip Duncan.  “Over the past couple of weeks the air pressure over New Zealand has continued to drop, when that happens the air becomes very unstable and it allows storms like this to rapidly and unexpectedly develop”.

Duncan says we’re not in the clear yet either.  “While it’s unlikely to see a repeat of Wednesday’s storms, more severe weather is on the way Friday as yet another low deepens out in the Tasman Sea, lowering the air pressure over the North Island even further”.  Heavy rain, with further thunderstorms are possible, although it’s too early to predict whether thunderstorms will be severe enough to affect these regions again.
Following on from Friday’s unstable weather in the North will be a sudden cold snap in southern and eastern areas.  MetService is predicting snow to sea level in the far south and down to 400 metres in the North Island.
Quick to respond
The surprise and unpredicted tornadoes have also highlighted the importance of vital, speedy weather updates during severe weather.  The Radio Network’s Weather Watch Centre lead with the tornado warnings, well before any other forecaster, including the NZ Government.  “Basically in these conditions, when things are rapidly changing, getting these updates out as soon as possible is vital.  That’s why the Weather Watch Centre and Radio work so well together – as updates can reach the public instantly” remarked Philip Duncan.
Bad weather forecast to arrive on Thursday, Friday and Saturday could affect travel plans as snow falls to low levels in both Islands.  The Weather Watch Centre will be closely monitoring the conditions and will update as needed.



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TVNZ has just reported several twisters have moved through the Taranaki region.  Latest radar images indicate a large squall line containing some big thunderstorms moving across the area.  “We can clearly see some thunderstorms forming in the Tasman and moving to the country from Waikato to Taranaki, at this stage they are mainly focused around Taranaki” says the Radio Network’s Head Weather Analyst Philip Duncan.
And Duncan warns the next 24 hours will see the risk of tornadoes continuing from Taranaki to Northland.  “Tomorrow is a high risk day for thunderstorms as a cold air mass meats a warm humid one”. 
TRN’s Weather Watch Centre will have a full report before 7am Friday.



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- Heavy Snow possibly on the way…roads could be closed across both islands. 


Warm weather has all but ruined skiing conditions on Mt Ruapehu as several days of warm rains continue to melt snow away.  Both Whakapapa and Turoa have their upper slopes completely closed due to snow melt and Turoa only has one beginner facility open.  After well over a week of milder temperatures which were reminiscent of mid autumn rather than mid-winter, a surprise cold blast is now set to pounce.

“A low south of New Zealand is going to fire up a fast moving low.  Bitterly cold air will spread up Canterbury then into the eastern North Island” says the Radio Network’s Head Weather Analyst Philip Duncan.  “This is great news for ski fields, especially in the North Island who desperately need more snow, but not so good for travellers”.
Travel plans could be disrupted for many if conditions prove to be severe enough.  “The Rimutaka Ranges may see snow heavy enough to close State Highway 2 at the summit on Friday, the Desert Road could also be closed on Friday night or Saturday morning…it’s really a wait and see game until we get a clearer picture”.  Mr Duncan says snow may also close roads in alpine areas across the South Island. 
Some forecasters, such as BlueSkies in Canterbury, are predicting that snow may even fall in Christchurch city.  “There is definite potential for this to be a serious snow issue for Christchurch city, and the wider province” but also acknowledges this depends on subtle variations in the weather systems. is forecasting highs of just 3 or 4 around Canterbury on Friday “that is borderline for snow” says Duncan.  “With temperatures around that mark, along with rainfall, it could either be a bitterly cold rainy day or good dumping of snow”. 
MetService isn’t forecasting snow in Christchurch, in fact they are predicting significantly warmer highs of 8 and 9 degrees, however they are predicting heavy snow for the Canterbury, Marlborough and southern North Island Ranges.
And in the North Island warm weather will be blown out to sea as the strong cold southerly kicks in on Saturday.  “At this stage places like Hamilton and Auckland, who have had highs around 18 lately, will be half that on around 9”.
But the coldest weather is likely to affect Central Otago. is predicting overnight lows in Queenstown of minus 7 in the weekend and minus 9 next Tuesday.  “That could make the ‘feels like’ temperature more into the negative teens” says Duncan.
Due to the instability of this system, the Weather Watch Centre will monitor conditions closely.  We’ll also update you if conditions look less severe.



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A band of very heavy rain with embedded thunderstorms is set to move in to western areas of the North Island.  From New Plymouth to north Auckland, heavy showers are soon moving in.  “Some localised falls could cause brief surface flooding so motorists should be aware” says Head Weather Analyst Philip Duncan. He says the heaviest rain will probably be between early afternoon and 3pm.



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“Potential for more across the North Island this afternoon”

-       Waikato and Auckland now in firing line
Newstalk ZB is reporting that a mini tornado has torn through central New Plymouth. 
The twister was first sighted on Molesworth St at 1pm. It quickly tore up Gover St, leaving damaged houses and shops in its wake.
Witness Gillian Kiss says she is still in shock. She says police are diverting traffic and fire crews are assessing the damage. No injuries have been reported.
The Radio Network’s Head Weather Analyst Philip Duncan says a huge band of thunderstorms is at this stage spreading into western areas.  “We’re warning rain falls could be heavy enough to cause surface flooding during these embedded storms.  Winds may easily reach gale force within seconds”.
Mr Duncan is warning regions south of Auckland and north of Taranaki are most at risk.  “There’s the potential for more mini twisters to form in those regions between now and dusk.  Auckland and Waikato are most at risk at the rain band moves in”.



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Further heavy showers to return to Waikato and Auckland tonight

There are concerns more twisters may form in residential areas this evening as major line of heavy, thundery rain moves across the northern part of the country.  Head Weather Analyst Philip Duncan says the heavy rain that brought a small tornado to Auckland this afternoon is now moving across Coromandel and into Tauranga and the Bay of Plenty.  “Residents need to be aware that these squalls can produce nasty, brief showers with winds quickly gusting to gale force”.  He says the safest place to be is indoors tonight, away from any wind blown debris.  “Roofing iron is lethal if it’s lifted off.  It’s sharp, wide and in the right winds it can move at well over 100km/h”.  Mr Duncan says the bad weather should leave Tauranga in an hour or so and then move into eastern Bay of Plenty.
And there are more squalls moving in to areas already affected by this afternoon’s severe weather.  “There are further squally showers in the Tasman Sea and they will make landfall this evening”.  Mr Duncan advises people not to panic and that these tornados, although potentially dangerous and lethal, are nothing like the devastating ones in America. “These are capable of lifting roofs, blowing signs over and snapping branches - not flattening houses”.
He says tomorrow is looking a lot more settled, but that more severe weather is on the way for the entire country this Friday.



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-  Temperatures several degrees warmer this week
We’re in for a much warmer week.  That’s the latest news from the Radio Network’s Weather Watch Centre.  Head Weather Analyst Philip Duncan says a week of westerlies will make overnight lows especially mild.  “While it might not be tropical it’s certainly not going to be bitterly cold”.  Westerlies, which bring warmer weather especially to the east of the country, are expected to dominate until at least Friday.  “In the north temperatures of 16 or 17 are expected during the day with overnight lows north of Waikato at least 12 or 13 degrees warmer than last week”.
Even the South Island is likely to remain mild with very few frosts, if any, expected.  “This is more like April weather” says Duncan “dominated by Autumnal westerlies and plenty of showery weather”. 
Duncan says farmers in Southern Hawke’s Bay and Wairarapa will appreciate the milder temperatures which promote grass growth.
“The next main cold front isn’t expected by Friday or Saturday night week”.  He says snow is possible again for Queenstown.
- Isolated heavy showers are possible in the North Island on Monday, west of the Kaimai’s and Central Plateau. 
- The next main cold front is expected to arrive on Thursday or Friday bringing rain and colder weather to the South Island.
- Rain is in the forecast for ski fields this week – but snow should arrive by this weekend. 



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Northern regions can expect some thunder, hail and brief gales

Unstable air in the Tasman Sea created by a low pressure system is creating some beefy showers this afternoon.  Most are off shore at the moment but they’re expected to spread to most places north of Waikato this afternoon and overnight tonight.  Most at risk are Waikato, western Coromandel, Auckland and Northland.

“During these heavy showers wind gusts may reach gale force” says head weather analyst Philip Duncan.  “They will be isolated and quite fast moving but could make driving hazardous and may cause surface flooding”.
Conditions are expected to ease by dawn tomorrow.
- MetService issues a rain warning for the Tararua Ranges.
- Warm conditions to remain all week. 
- Some cold weather on the way this weekend for the far South.  Queenstown’s overnight low on Saturday is minus 8 at this stage.
- Drier conditions for eastern areas.



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-         Several rain warnings issued for both islands
-         North east gales pounding the far north and spreading to Hauraki Gulf
-         Rain but not snow for ski fields



Rain has started to fall across much of New Zealand and according to forecasters there’s a lot more to come.  The NZ Government has issued heavy rainfall warnings for the Bay of Plenty ranges, Mt Taranaki, and northern and western regions of the South Island. 


The Radio Network’s head weather analyst Philip Duncan says we’re in for a very wet night.  “We currently have a warm front moving in to New Zealand from the Tasman…warm fronts tend to bring lighter rain.  But tonight and tomorrow a very slow moving cold front will deliver much heavier rain”.   Mr Duncan says is forecasting about 50mm for Auckland city tonight and tomorrow.
Accompanying these fronts, caused by a deep low in Tasman (984mb), is a strong north easterly flow.  “A blocking high out to the east and the low pushing into it is creating a big squeeze of air pressure, making some very strong winds over the North Island”. 
Gales are pounding the far north, averaging over 90km/h (gale force is 62) with winds gusting to 115km/h.  Gales are also spreading into the Hauraki Gulf near Auckland with gusts to 80km/h.  “We’re expecting winds up to 100km/h tonight for the gulf and gusts to 80 in exposed parts of Auckland city”.
But the system is bringing warmer weather with it despite the cold front.  “Highs of around 17 could be possible tomorrow north of Waikato, which means rain instead of snow for the ski fields this weekend – probably across both Islands”.
- Warmer weather for the next 3 or 4 days nationwide.
- Frosts may return for a couple days early next week in the south, but nothing severe.
- Nor Westers on the way for later next week.  The next low is expected to bring some fronts this time next week.