Weather to remain unsettled

May 22, 2016

It’s been a tumultuous week of weather, with thunderstorms, tornadoes, snow, heavy rain and severe gales affecting the country.

Since Monday, thunderstorms have generated over 60,000 lightning strikes in the New Zealand region, around half of those occurring on Monday.  A number of tornadoes and waterspouts were sighted, and intense rain from these thunderstorms caused surface flooding, most notably for the West Coast.

It has also been a windy week, with northwest gales blasting southern and central New Zealand early on, and southwest gales affecting Northland and eastern parts of the South Island over the weekend.  “Cape Turnagain on the east coast of the North Island reported a gust of 174 km/h on Wednesday night, while last night a gust of 165 km/h was recorded near Kaeo in Northland,” commented Meteorologist Peter Little.

Although the weather has calmed down over much of the country since yesterday, a Severe Weather Warning for heavy rain remains in force for Southland and eastern Otago.  Mr Little went on to say, “Southwesterlies may reach severe gale force in exposed parts of these areas too.  In addition, the cooler southerly flow will likely bring snow to some of the higher passes and hill country farms for a time.”

Yet more wild weather is forecast for the week ahead as a number of weather systems, embedded in a westerly flow, cross the country in rapid succession. “Keep your gumboots and raincoats handy as the weather remains unsettled this week”, added Mr Little.

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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