Archive for July, 2016


July 31, 2016

On Saturday night New Zealand saw its heaviest snowfall of the year so far, although it is unlikely to be the last.

A surge of cold air from the Antarctic racing up New Zealand on Saturday brought snow to near sea level in the far south and to 200m on the West Coast.  19cm was reported in Clinton, near Gore, and several ski fields received a welcome top up. Whakapapa reported 31cm, while Mt Cheeseman down south measured 23cm.  Several roads were closed due to snow, including the Desert Road, the Haast Pass and the Milford Road.  The same cold, convective air spreading north also brought a handful of thunderstorms to southern parts of Auckland on Sunday, with several reports of hail.

Hanmer Springs woke up to a dusting of snow on Sunday morning

By Sunday afternoon the worst of the snow should be over, but higher parts of the South Island can expect a few more flurries during the week. The heavy showers also return to the North Island by Monday evening, with a high risk of thunderstorms for Taranaki and a moderate risk for Auckland.  Christchurch will wake up to a hard frost on Monday, with temperatures down to around -3, although cloud will build during the morning bringing a few spots of afternoon rain.

Tuesday and Wednesday appear to be the pick of the week for most people, when easing winds and clearer skies will provide great conditions to hit the recently refreshed ski slopes. However overnight on Wednesday the first glimpses of the next weather system appear, a complex low from the Tasman set to bring strong northerly winds and rain for the end of the week.  Although the winds from the north will raise temperatures briefly, indications are that August will be slightly cooler than average – in contrast to the warm winter we’ve had so far – so the next snowfall may not be too far off.

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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