Monday, July 28, 2008


Well we had a busy weekend weather wise - at least northern and western parts of the North Island did - with a total of 25,000 lightning strikes clocked up from midnight Friday to 6pm Sunday.

Aucklanders were rattled awake on Saturday morning then a few random booms and hail storms sent people running for cover during Sunday.

Today we'll see a short breather - not just for Aucklanders but all of New Zealand - ahead of the next big winter storm. The low, which will develop during Monday in the Tasman Sea, between Tasmania and Southland, is expected to rapidly deepen and by mid-week will be affecting the entire country.

This system has the potential to be damaging with gale force winds affecting much of the country on either Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday (depending on where you live).

Not only that but a polar blast will develop on Wednesday in the far south and reach Auckland on Thursday - so yes, that means an end to the spring like weather that saw me wearing shorts and a T-shirt on Saturday! And seeing as my body hasn't really seen the light of day since March that's probably not a bad thing!

Now if you're travelling anywhere in New Zealand this week then you might want to take note of possible travel problems. Severe gales may affect the Cook Strait ferry service anywhere from Tuesday to Thursday. Those gales may also affect flights into the capital between those same days. On Wednesday gales may affect much of New Zealand so you might want to keep up to date with your airline if flying anywhere across the country.

Snow will fall to low levels in the far south on Wednesday night possibly closing roads and almost certainly closing roads by Thursday. The Desert Road may well be closed to snow on Thursday or Friday.

There is some good news - another dumping of heavy rain is expected for the hydro lakes. I always suspected the winter rains would arrive there.

It's going to be a stormy week for most New Zealanders and many of us will probably have a couple of restless nights due to heavy showers, hail, thunderstorms or gales. Lucky us!

Storm Time Line:

Monday: A short lived breather before the first front approaches. Warm nor'west winds will develop.

Tuesday: Heavy rain sets in to the West Coast with rain spreading to most other places during the day. Nor'west winds picking up to gale force from Canterbury to Wairarapa.

Wednesday: Thunderstorms along the nation's west coast and sou'westers rising to gales force for much of the country. Cold southerlies developing in the far south with snow developing in the mountains and lowering significantly in places like Southland and Otago by dark.

Thursday: Snow to low levels in the South easing, and snow possibly falling on the Desert Road. Severe southerly or sou'easterly gales for the nation's east coast gradually easing during the day.

Friday: Snow still possible on the Desert road and significantly colder over all of New Zealand but conditions improving gradually

The Weather Watch Centre will be closely monitoring this storm with a number of extra updates each day throughout the week.

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