Wild weather to end the School Holidays

July 24, 2016

This weekend has seen severe gales, heavy rain, thunderstorms, snow and huge waves batter parts of the country.  This was due to a very strong and moist northwesterly flow ahead of an active front, which was then followed by strong, showery westerlies.

Severe northwest gales ahead of the front would’ve kept many people in central and northern New Zealand awake in the early hours of Sunday.  MetService meteorologist Peter Little commented, “Manukau Heads in west Auckland recorded a gust of 163km/h in the hour to 3am, while gusts around 140km/h affected the hilltops around Wellington”.  Following the front, strong westerlies continue to affect parts of northern and central New Zealand through to Monday afternoon, and Severe Weather Warnings and Watches remain in place.

Most western areas received a brief period of heavy rain with the passage of the front, but a prolonged period of heavy rain on the West Coast of the South Island saw over 200mm recorded at a number of stations in the ranges of Westland from midnight Friday to midday Sunday.  A number of thunderstorms affected the west of the South Island in the unstable air behind the front on Sunday, and a Severe Thunderstorm Watch has been issued for the possibility that a few of these thunderstorms may be severe.

Temperatures were very warm for July across much of the country this weekend, especially in eastern areas.  Mr Little went on to say, “Napier reached 22C on Saturday afternoon, while Christchurch was close behind on 21C.  However, colder southerlies developed over the lower South Island on Sunday morning, with snow falling to low levels in parts of Southland and Otago.  Travellers should be aware that snow will likely affect a number of higher South Island roads on Sunday, and a few flurries are also expected about higher parts of the North Island’s Desert Road early Monday morning”.

Finally, huge waves pounding western coasts are expected to begin easing slowly on Monday.  “These waves have already lead to some coastal roads being closed for a time due to waves washing across them.  People are advised that sea and beach conditions in the west could be dangerous during Sunday and Monday, and that these waves could also cause coastal erosion”, 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 metservice.com or on mobile devices at m.metservice.com. You can also follow our updates on MetService TV, at MetService New Zealand on Facebook, @metservice and @MetServiceWARN on Twitter and at blog.metservice.com


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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