Change is in the air

March 5, 2017

New Zealand has been graced with generally settled weather over the past week, with most places getting several days of sunshine. The exception was a front that made its way up the South Island to end the week, resulting in a temperature drop of around 11C in just 10 minutes in Dunedin City, and similar temperature drops were experienced up the east coast as the front moved north. An approaching low from the Tasman Sea means that change is in the air over the coming week.

“A low is currently forming across the Tasman Sea, and will head towards New Zealand this week,” said MetService Meteorologist Claire Flynn. “The low is expected to stay to the northwest of the country. However, this draws a northeasterly flow across the North Island, dragging humid air down from the subtropics, bringing rain.”

A front associated with the low is expected to move up the South Island on Tuesday, bringing a period of rain followed by showers. Most of the South Island should see a return to settled weather after the front moves over on Tuesday, so any rain should be short lived. Meanwhile, the humid northeasterly flow persists over the North Island for much of the week, meaning rain in the north will last longer.

“There is still some uncertainty about which areas will get the heaviest and most persistent rain in the North Island,” Flynn explained. “We are watching this low as it develops and approaches New Zealand, as it has the potential to bring significant rainfall accumulations to parts of the North Island. Severe Weather Watches and Warnings are likely to be issued closer to the time, so make sure you keep up to date.”


The satellite image and isobar chart above show the low pressure system forming in the west Tasman Sea, as at 1pm 5/03/2017.

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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