Cold and snow sweep across the country

April 13, 2015

Snow has made an early arrival to New Zealand accompanying cold air that has spread northwards across the country. Overnight temperatures across parts of the South Island dropped down below freezing, the lowest recorded at Lake Tekapo was a chilly -2C. Meanwhile, the cold air has not made it right the way across Aotearoa yet, with temperatures in the Far North only dropping to 15C. This week sees the southerly winds dominate, continuing to bring some wintry showers and colder temperatures. However, temperatures are expected to pick up again towards the weekend.

The MetService Severe Weather forecasting team has issued a Severe Weather Warning for heavy snowfall across parts of Southland, southern Fiordland and Otago. The heaviest snowfall, around 15-25cm is forecast above 600 metres, but some snow could be seen as low as 100 metres for parts of the South Island. Road snowfall warnings have also been issued for the higher passes of the South Island, while snow is also forecast about the top of the Desert road overnight Monday and into the early hours of Tuesday.

“We really have seen a change in the weather over the last week,” MetService meteorologist John Law commented. “Parts of the country were exceptionally warm – Auckland airport for example, reached 25C on Friday, but this week we are looking at unseasonably cold temperatures and snow to low levels for parts of the country. The change in weather is due to the arrival of a cold air mass from the Antarctic, which is set to continue moving northwards during Monday.”

As well as the colder weather, thunderstorms also feature strongly in the forecast for Monday and Tuesday bringing with them some hail to parts of the country, especially the west of the North Island and the far east of the South Island this afternoon.

In addition to providing a significant wind chill, the stronger winds forecast during Monday and Tuesday are set to help generate high swells and seas around coastal parts of New Zealand. As always please stay up to date with the latest marine forecasts before heading out on the water.

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

For further information please contact: John Law Meteorologist (04)4700 754

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
* 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
* Issued only when required
* Recommendation: BE READY
Outlooks are about looking ahead:
* To provide advance information on possible future Watches and/or Warnings
* Issued routinely once or twice a day
* Recommendation: PLAN

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