Weather during the countdown to Christmas

December 15, 2016

A front moves up the country today, gradually weakening as it moves north. A Severe Weather Warning for heavy rain is in force for the Tararua Range until late afternoon, while a Severe Weather Watch is in place for westerly gales in Wairarapa, southern Hawke’s Bay and coastal parts of Southland and Clutha.

“The front clears the top of the North Island tomorrow, making for a mostly fine day across the country apart from a few showers affecting the West Coast and coastal Southland,” said Meteorologist Ciaran Doolin.

“On Saturday, a ridge spreads over the North Island while a front approaches the southwest of the South Island,” Doolin added. “This front moves up the South Island on Sunday, bringing heavy rain to the west and strong winds, then weakens as it moves onto the North Island early next week.”

With only ten sleeps till Christmas, the forecast for Christmas Day is top of mind for many. The weather in the run up to Christmas is very changeable this year, with several weather systems due to arrive ahead of Santa.  At the moment, weather models are differing in their opinions for Christmas Day weather, so there is still considerable uncertainty in the forecast this far out.

Communications Meteorologist Lisa Murray said, “This degree of uncertainty means the current Christmas Day forecast may change as we move closer to the day, so it’ll be wise to keep up to date with the latest forecast.”

“Although the forecasts for days 6-10 of the 10 day forecast on our website are handy for a longer-range heads-up, they are automatically generated by models. Once we’re 5 days and closer to Christmas, our meteorologists write the forecasts which adds that extra expertise and local knowledge – meaning a more accurate prediction to help plan your day,” advised Murray.

Not forgetting the tropics, MetService is monitoring Tropical Depression TD04F currently located approximately 480 km northwest of Fiji’s capital, Nadi.  With conditions favourable for further development, there is a high chance of TD04F being named as the first tropical cyclone of the South Pacific season in the next day or two.  The Fiji Meteorological Service has already issued heavy rain and flood warnings. At this stage, most weather models indicate a low likelihood of this system affecting New Zealand.


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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