Settled weather on the horizon as southerly storm eases

September 9, 2016

A vicious southerly storm that blasted up the country during Wednesday and early Thursday brought with it severe southerly gales, snow to low levels and bitterly cold temperatures.

MetService Meteorologist Peter Little commented, “The strongest wind gusts were recorded about Wellington 146km/h, Kaikoura 130km/h, Banks Peninsula 167km/h and eastern Otago 142km/h.  Heavy south to southwest swells also battered much of New Zealand’s coastline, with waves larger than 10 metres recorded in Cook Strait during Thursday.”

Wintry showers brought snow down to low levels across both islands, affecting many roads.  The heaviest snow fell about the central North Island, where the Desert Road was closed for more than 24 hours. “The snow is great news for skiers though, with over 30 centimetres of fresh snow falling on the Ruapehu ski-fields,” said Mr Little.

The whole country endured unseasonably cold temperatures on Thursday, with many places having a 1-in-5 year coldest September day.  Mr Little went on to say, “Auckland Airport reached a maximum of just 11.3C, making it the fifth coldest September day there since records began.”

The worst of the storm has now passed, and all warnings have been lifted except for the Chatham Islands where severe gales should ease this afternoon.

As we look ahead to the weekend, a ridge of high pressure over the lower South Island slowly spreads onto the remainder of the country.  This brings mostly fine weather to the South Island and upper North Island this weekend, while the southern half of the North Island and especially eastern areas won’t clear up until Sunday.  Although afternoon temperatures should climb into the teens, morning frosts are likely in sheltered places.  “As the weather calms down, growers should be wary of some frosty mornings ahead,” added Mr Little. “Drivers should also take care on roads where black ice could form.”

Finally, conditions are looking excellent for the All Blacks’ Investec Rugby Championship match against Argentina at FMG Waikato Stadium on Saturday evening, with clear skies and light winds forecast for Hamilton.  It will be cool though, with a temperature of around 8C at kick-off.


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

%d bloggers like this: