Autumn is moving into winter

May 17, 2016

A sequence of fronts crossing the country is set to bring cooler temperatures to New Zealand, with a dusting of early season snow to the ski fields.  Yesterday’s front brought over 31,000 lightning strikes to the New Zealand area, with strikes from the Far South to Auckland.  Strong southerly gales rushed up the east coast of the South Island and lower North Island, reaching 130kph on Banks Peninsula, causing damage and power outages in Christchurch, and 113kph on the Rimutaka Hill Road. Over 150mm of rain fell in parts of the West Coast, and higher in the mountains several ski fields got a coating of snow.


On Wednesday another front will bring a further blast of wind and rain, with high risks of lightning and squally wind gusts in the west, and a lesser risk spreading across into the east. The weather improves for Thursday, but late on Friday a complex trough rolls over the country that looks poised to bring further chilly temperatures, widespread rain and gales, and a chance of some extra snow to the ski fields.  Persistent southerlies mean that temperatures in Queenstown will struggle to make the double figures from Saturday into at least the middle of next week, while Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch’s highest temperatures only just make the mid-teens.


Although not unusual for the time of year, this comes after a long spell of warmer than average temperatures and will be a noticeable change. “The current rapidly changing weather is characteristic of autumn, rather than winter – when southerly blasts can set in for a day or two in a row.” said meteorologist Tom Adams “Looking ahead into next week we begin to see these southerlies start to last a bit longer, further lowering temperatures and really bringing this extended summer to an end.”


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