May 27, 2018

It has been an eventful week of weather for New Zealand as a large area of low pressure brought strong winds, thunderstorms and eventually snow to higher parts of the country.

The first strong cold front moved over the South Island late Tuesday before racing over the North Island early Wednesday, bringing a burst of heavy rain and squally thunderstorms to the western and northern regions of the country. “A total of 9500 lightning strikes were detected by MetService radars during a 24-hour period starting 5am Tuesday” April Clark, MetService Meteorologist reported. “A wild night was certainly had in the capital as thunderstorms dumped 16.4mm of rain over the airport between 9 and 10pm, and large hail was observed in the western suburbs” she continued.

“Behind the front, showery southwesterlies dropped temperatures leading to the first low snow event of the season, blanketing Queenstown airport overnight Wednesday.” Clark said. This regime persisted into the weekend as snow briefly lowered in the south with each successive front. Although there were breaks in the showers, especially for those in the east, no region was spared from the bitter cold as southerlies dragged successively cooler air onto New Zealand. “The only region benefitting from the southerly flow is the west of the South Island where skies are set to remain clear for the next few days.” Clark commented.

The cooling trend in daytime temperatures is forecast to hit the hand brake from Tuesday onwards as a ridge of high pressure moves onto the country bringing back more settled weather. However, as showers and cloud clear overnight temperatures are forecast to plummet. “Inland regions can expect some hard frosts heading into next week” Clark warned.

Official Severe Weather Watches and Warnings are reviewed and re-issued by MetService at least every twelve hours, and more often if necessary. To get the most up to date information on severe weather around the country, or any other forecasts, see metservice.com or on mobile devices at m.metservice.com. You can also follow our updates on MetService TV, at MetService New Zealand on Facebook@metservice and @MetServiceWARN on Twitter and at blog.metservice.com

MetService issues Warnings, Watches and Outlooks for severe weather over New Zealand.

Warnings are about taking action when severe weather is imminent or is occurring. They are issued only when required.
Recommendation: ACT 

Watches are about being alert when severe weather is possible, but not sufficiently imminent or certain for a Warning to be issued. They are issued only when required.
Recommendation: BE READY 

Outlooks are about looking ahead, providing advance information on possible future Watches and/or Warnings. They are issued routinely once or twice a day.
Recommendation: PLAN