Changeable autumn weather has arrived

May 12, 2016

While New Zealand has experienced a mild and settled autumn so far, things have begun to change. High pressure that has caused settled weather for the start of autumn has moved away, and a strong westerly flow more typical of autumn has set in.  Embedded in this flow is a series of fronts which have begun to march up the country. While western parts have already experienced heavy rain, and strong gusts have affected parts of the east, the procession of fronts is not finished yet.

“Gusts up to 118 km/h were recorded in Wellington overnight Wednesday and early Thursday, causing a tree to blow down and cut power to parts of Upper Hutt,” said MetService Meteorologist Claire Flynn. “Winds are expected to become even gustier from this afternoon and into Friday morning, with gusts of 140 km/h forecast in exposed places. A blustery start is also expected for the Hawke’s Bay marathon on Saturday.”

Periods of heavy rain and possible thunderstorms are forecast for western parts of the South Island through this weekend as each front moves northwards. Severe Weather Warnings are already in place for heavy rain for these areas on Thursday and for the Tararua Range early on Friday. Meanwhile, the east of the South Island will be much drier, with just a few brief periods of rain. However, ahead of each front, warm northwesterly winds are expected to rise to severe gale for many parts in the east of the South Island and also the lower North Island. Again, Severe Weather Warnings are already in place there for high winds from Thursday afternoon until Friday morning. Further north, the procession of fronts is expected to bring occasional showers to central and western parts of the North Island.

“We’re heading into a period of significant wind for much of the country in the coming days,” Flynn said. “Now is a good time for people to secure trampolines or other loose items on their property, check moorings on boats, and please take care when driving.”

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 or on mobile devices at You can also follow our updates on MetService TV, at MetService New Zealand on Facebook, @metservice and @MetServiceWARN on Twitter and at


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

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