Polar blast on the way

June 30, 2014

A change in wind direction this week is expected to blast cold air across New Zealand, as cold southerly winds send temperatures tumbling and bring snow to low levels.

An active front, which brought heavy rain to the north and west of the South Island on Monday, moves across the North Island later today. The front is followed by a westerly flow, with a number of embedded troughs bringing thundery showers to western areas and mainly fine weather further east.

On Wednesday, a polar blast is expected to move up the country, bringing a period of showers to eastern areas and snow to low levels. “The air from this cold southerly has come straight from the Antarctic Ice Shelf. On Wednesday, snow is expected to low levels over the South Island, with snow also possible on Wellington’s Rimutaka Hill Road later in the day,” said MetService Meteorologist Peter Little. “Many of the South Island’s higher roads may be affected by snow, along with the hill suburbs of Dunedin, the Canterbury Foothills and Banks Peninsula. Coastal places in the South Island can expect showers laced with hail and a daytime temperature of just 6 to 8 degrees on Wednesday,” Little added.

Though not as cold in the north, Auckland will struggle to make it into the teens later this week. “Those taking part in the Big Sleep Out overnight Thursday will need to wrap up warm and don a raincoat. A showery southwesterly and temperature of 6 degrees is forecast, with the wind chill making the temperature feel like 0 degrees,” Little added.

This polar blast is great news for skiers, with useful snow expected for both the North and South Island Skifields, just in time for the School Holidays.

A showery southwesterly flow is set to persist later this week, though a weak ridge brings a clearance to the showers over much of the North Island and east coast of the South Island on Friday. “Overall we’re in for a week of unsettled weather, and Wednesday’s cold snap is a reminder that we’re approaching the middle of winter,” Little said.

Keep up to date with the latest forecasts and any watches/warnings at metservice.com or on mobile devices at m.metservice.com. You can also follow our updates on MetService TV, @metservice on Twitter and at blog.metservice.com.

For further information please contact:
Peter Little Meteorologist (04)4700 754

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