Weather systems to strike each end of New Zealand

May 22, 2015

Two main weather systems will tackle each end of the country this weekend.The first, a low from the north Tasman Sea, will track over Northland and the Coromandel Peninsula on Saturday bringing rain and strong winds to the northern half of the North Island. On Sunday, a polar blast will make its presence felt over the South Island, bringing snow to low levels. However, the story is better for the middle of the country. “Central areas will enjoy some sunshine in between these two systems,” said MetService meteorologist Stephen Glassey.

Rain is expected to spread as far south as Mount Ruapehu during Saturday morning with heavy falls in Northland, Coromandel, and possibly Auckland. The rain should also become heavy in Gisborne later in the day, before the low moves away to the east of New Zealand overnight Saturday. “Although there are heavy rain warnings with a risk of downpours for some of these northern areas, the lower North Island and upper South Island should see fine weather on Saturday due to a weak ridge of high pressure,” said Glassey.

During Sunday, very cold polar air will spread north over the South Island and reach the lower North Island during the evening. Snow is likely to lower to near sea level in Southland and Otago by Sunday evening, possibly reaching warning amounts above 200 metres. “This is likely to make driving conditions hazardous and will be disruptive to travel, possibly including Dunedin residents trying to get to work on Monday morning,” commented Glassey. Motorists are advised to check the status of roads before travelling by visiting the NZTA website at:

Strong southwest winds will also produce significant wind chill,especially in exposed coastal places. Snow is unlikely to fall on the Canterbury Plains but will almost certainly affect Banks Peninsula and the Canterbury High Country. “Christchurch could well see some sleet on Sunday night with snow on the Port Hills,” added Glassey.

On Monday, the cold air spreads over the remainder of the North Island,bringing snow to the higher roads. The snow level should gradually rise over the South Island but temperatures will probably remain in single digits for most places. “This will be the coldest outbreak New Zealand has experienced so far this year,” commented Glassey. Conditions should begin to improve on Tuesday as higher pressures moves in from the west.

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For further information please contact:
Stephen Glassey Meteorologist (04)4700754

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
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* Issued routinely once or twice a day
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