Soupy Skies for the Supermoon

November 13, 2016

This weekend began with a wet Saturday, when parts of Wellington saw nearly a month’s worth of rain in a single day, causing slips and disrupting travel.  Average November rainfall for Kelburn since 1928 is 88.3mm, whereas yesterday 84.4mm fell in 24 hours, the wettest day of the year (measured midnight to midnight).  The Kelburn monthly total so far of 158mm is already the 12thwettest November on record, with over two weeks left to go.  “The good news is that rainfall amounts look set to return to normal for the rest of the month”, said meteorologist Tom Adams, “although the 1965 record of 226mm is still within grasp”.

Other centres also saw heavy rain, with places in Golden Bay, Taranaki and south Wairarapa also receiving over 50mm in 24 hours.  Sunday will give the ground a chance to dry out with most of the rain confined to the South Island’s West Coast, although scattered showers will spread across the Alps this evening.  The rain is set to spread further afield early next week however, as a wedge of warm air moves across the country bringing rain to western parts of the lower North Island late on Monday and to the rest of the Island on Tuesday.  A warning for heavy rain has been issued for northwest parts of the South Island, where 150-200mm of rain could fall in the ranges from Monday afternoon into Tuesday. Northerly winds will also pick up, with warnings out for gusts of up to 140km/h expected in exposed parts of Wellington, Wairarapa and Marlborough from Monday evening into Tuesday morning.

The weather on Monday night does not paint a luminous picture for lunar observers hoping to spot the full moon at its closest approach since 1948, unofficially referred to as a ‘supermoon’.  Aside from the warning-level wind and rain, the warm, moist air will blanket much of the sky with cloud.  Eastern areas, especially Gisborne and northern Canterbury have the best chance of a break in the cloud.  The nights either side of the supermoon the skies look considerably clearer, with good opportunities for celestial observers both tonight and Tuesday night, when the moon will be less than 1% further away.

This image shows areas in dark grey where the cloud cover is expected to exceed 95% at 1am on Monday morning (the day before the supermoon), and 1am on Tuesday morning (time of supermoon), and  1am Wednesday morning (day after the supermoon) with lighter shadings for 80% and 60% cloud coverage. Data UK Met Office.


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: