Teuila Fuatai is a reporter for the NZ Herald

Forecasts show warmer weather ahead

Chilly Kiwis fed up with winter's icy temperatures can put their woollies away for a while - forecasters are predicting a respite from the cold weather.

Philip Duncan of weatherwatch.co.nz expects temperatures to be relatively mild in the next fortnight.

West to northwest winds will hit many areas of the country - helping to boost temperatures "well above average for the depths of winter", he said.

"Eastern areas of New Zealand have a mostly dry and sunny forecast for the next 10 days while western areas, especially in the South Island, see showers and rain events on the increase."

Ski enthusiasts might be disappointed, he warned - with the warmer-than-average temperatures likely to result in less snow on skifields, especially in the North Island.

"The windier weather basically removes the chance of frosts for many areas also," Mr Duncan said.

"Overnight lows in the South Island may even be in double digits at times over the next 14 days."

In Auckland, overnight lows are expected to be back into double figures by midweek. During the day, Aucklanders should enjoy highs around 16C by the week's end, Mr Duncan said.

However, the break from the cold is unlikely to last.

"At this stage the computer models suggest the middle of July sees potential for another wintry snap."

The MetService also expects strong northwesterlies to develop over the South Island this week, and says people in the north may want to dust off their umbrellas.

Duty forecaster Richard Finnie said wet weather was predicted for the top half of the North Island this week.

Windy conditions were likely to raise temperatures in the south "and it will probably melt quite a bit of snow in the lower-lying areas of the South Island".

Ski area manager Steve McGill said hundreds of skiers and snowboarders queued at Whakapapa and Turoa for the opening day of their ski seasons at Mt Ruapehu on Saturday.

"There were lots of snow players or people just coming up for a look."

Mr McGill said the forecast over the next week looked reasonably good but lifts on the upper mountain on both skifields remained closed for now.

"The upper mountain is still just one snowstorm away from opening but it's looking good for this time of the year."


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