First real taste of winter

May 25, 2015

A bitterly cold southwest flow over the country brought snow showers and freezing temperatures to many areas overnight, while strong winds and large swells will continue to affect coastal places today.

Many in the lower South Island received at least a flurry of snow overnight while significant amounts accumulated in some places, such as Clarks Junction in Otago where 25cm of snow was reported. The snow level should gradually rise today, although further snow is forecast for Banks Peninsula where a heavy snow warning remains in force. Warnings are also in force for strong winds around coastal Otago and Banks Peninsula, where severe gales are expected until early Tuesday morning. These strong winds have also kicked up significant swell, which should peak at heights around 7 metres along eastern coasts today.

“Looking ahead, strong showery southwesterlies are forecast to gradually ease over the next few days as an area of high pressure builds over the country,” said MetService meteorologist Emma Blades. “Clear skies at night do mean that cold temperatures will continue, with several places forecast to fall below freezing over the next few nights,” commented Blades.

Towards the end of the week, the high pressure moves eastwards over New Zealand, allowing a northerly flow to build over the South Island on Friday ahead of an approaching front. This front is likely to make its presence felt over the coming long weekend, with a spell of rain or showers expected in the north and west of both islands. “With an unsettled outlook for Queen’s Birthday Weekend, it might pay to pack a raincoat if you’re heading away,” Blades went on to say.

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:
Emma Blades 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
* 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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