MetService issues thuderstorm alert

By Brendan Manning, Newstalk ZB staff

Photo / File / Thinkstock
Photo / File / Thinkstock

The MetService has issued severe thunderstorm watch alerts for parts of the North and South Islands this afternoon, while question marks remain over New Year's Eve weather.

In the north, today's watch covers the Hawkes Bay, Manawatu, Tararua and Wairarapa districts.

Those regions have been warned to expect severe thunderstorms with localised downpours of 25-40 millimetres per hour, especially in the area between Hastings and Masterton.

In the south, the alert covers Marlborough, Nelson, Buller and the Canterbury High Country.

They too can expect 25 to 40 millimetre localised downpours.

Meanwhile, WeatherWatch.co.nz head weather analyst Philip Duncan said the same weather pattern which contributed to a cloudy and damp Christmas Eve in some areas looked likely to return in the final days of 2012.

This meant a higher risk of wind and rain on New Year's Eve and campers are now being warned to keep up to date with weather forecasts and potential warnings.

A similar weather set up as during Christmas - highs either side of New Zealand but not directly over the country - looked likely for the final day of the year, Mr Duncan said.

"Just like for the start of Christmas we expect a high to the east and another one in the Tasman Sea - lowering the air pressure here at home and increasing the risks of wind and showers."

The current weather forecast showed wet weather clearing during New Year's Eve over the North Island while rain moved up the West Coast of the South Island.

Gusty north westerlies were predicted for central New Zealand, including Wellington.

However, despite the potential change in weather, most main centres still looked fairly dry at this early stage, Mr Duncan said.

"Don't go cancelling any plans just yet."

Auckland has just a 30 per cent chance of showers with westerlies picking up. New Year's Day could be windy but dry and cloudy.

Wellington is expected to be dry with near gale northerly or north westerly winds on New Year's Eve - with New Year's Day looking similar - but with a higher risk of showers.

Christchurch is forecast to be dry and warm, but perhaps cooler, cloudier and windier on the first day of 2013.

Mr Duncan said he had been using the same models that picked cyclone Evan's path two weeks in advance.

"I tend to be a glass half full kinda guy and while the forecast may not be ideal, keep in mind long range predictions are just a basic guide for the weather pattern.

"We are seeing another unsettled spell of weather, but it may be more like a hot spring weather pattern than the tropical summer system we've just had."

Spring patterns tended to bring sunny and dry weather to eastern and northern areas where most partygoers are expected, but cloudy and wetter weather for western areas and windier weather for central New Zealand.

"If you're going away camping keep up to date with the latest weather news and potential warnings."

The wild weather may be be short lived, with a forecast high moving in to settle things down for the start of January.

- APNZ

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