Wild weather set for brief ease after day of gusts, snow and rain

By Solbin Kang

While wild unstable weather has battered most parts of the country today, it will briefly ease tomorrow.

Westerly winds were howling across parts of the country with gales spreading as far north as Auckland and hurricane force winds slammed parts of the lower North Island.

The strongest gust in the country was recorded at Cape Turnagain on the East Coast of the North Island with wind of 195km per hour, Metservice meteorologist Chelsea Glue said.

Rimutaka Hill also had strong gusts of 155km/h.

Gusts in Wellington were recorded at 100km/h at 12pm today but have now dropped to under 75km/h.

Meanwhile wintry blasts have hit the South Island bringing snow to Southland and Dunedin today.

Heavy snowfall at 100 metres was falling in Southland and 200 metres in Dunedin as polar air swiped through the lower South Island, Weather Watch head analyst Philip Duncan said.

The air temperature in Dunedin at 3pm was between 0 and 3C and wind chills were as extreme as -6C in some coastal Otago areas as the polar southerly kicked in.

Snow in parts of Dunedin would ease this afternoon.

"The polar air is affecting Southland and Otago today, and some of the mountains further north, but generally the powerful westerly blast over the rest of the nation is stopping this southerly from heading any further north", Duncan said.

"While it's bitterly cold for some in the south today, tomorrow the airflow changes and by tomorrow morning much of the air flow across the country will be coming back from Australia again - with the flow connecting Sydney directly to the upper North Island tomorrow and milder air from the Melbourne area heading towards the South Island as the day goes on."

Snow fields in the South Island had the "best snow" this week, NZ ski chief executive Paul Anderson said.

The Remarkables ski field had 25cm of snow in the past 24 hours.

"That's on top of 80cm we've had over the past week."

Anderson said more snow was due overnight and throughout the week."Winter has well and truly arrived," Anderson said.

Auckland City was currently experiencing gusts between 70 and 90km/h.

Temperatures in Auckland dropped five degrees in just eight minutes from 17C to 12C early this afternoon as a burst of torrential downpours and gale force winds hit the city.

A northern fire communications spokeswoman said the Fire Service had received calls throughout the day from Warkworth to Turangi.

"It's been steady all day."It was a similar story in the lower North Island as the Fire Service received about 50 calls since 8am today.

"We've received a number of calls in the Wairarapa region, Masterton, a few in Wellington, Whanganui and Palmerston North," central fire communications shift manager David Meikle said.

He said the fire service had received calls about roofs coming off sheds.

State Highway 58, north of Wellington, was closed for about three hours today, from Spinnaker Dr to Joseph Banks Dr, Whitby, due to flooding, the New Zealand Transport Agency said.

The combination of high tides and stormy conditions made the roads unsafe, it stated.

However the wild thunderstorms would ease by tomorrow, Glue said.

"Today was the worst.

"But we have a weak ridge of high pressure spreading through the country tomorrow which means lighter winds and clearer skies but it will also mean cooler temperatures."

This meant there would be severe overnight frosts for Otago and Canterbury regions.Temperatures in Ashburton would be -4C and Timaru would reach -3C.

The whole country would go back to unstable westerly flows on Wednesday.

"We will be expecting strong winds and rain and showers, particularly in the western parts of the country.

"But it won't be as bad as today but we will be keeping an eye on it as the week progresses."

Auckland would be cloudy with showers most of the week.

Hamilton would have a westerly flow with cloudy periods with strong winds.Wind would gradually be easing in Wellington.

There would be some periods of rain also, Glue said.

Whangarei

• Tomorrow: Cloudy periods, chance morning shower. Westerly eases, late northerly.
17C.

Auckland

• Tomorrow: Morning cloud and showers, fine breaks in afternoon. 15C.

Hamilton

• Tomorrow: Cloudy periods, few showers until evening. 14C.

Tauranga

• Tomorrow: Chance morning shower, otherwise fine. Westerly dies. 15C.

Wellington

• Tomorrow: A sunny day. Gusty northwesterly easing. 13C.

Christchurch

• Tomorrow: Mostly sunny, morning frosts. Southwest dying out. 10C.

- NZ Herald

Get the news delivered straight to your inbox

Receive the day’s news, sport and entertainment in our daily email newsletter

SIGN UP NOW

© Copyright 2016, NZME. Publishing Limited

Assembled by: (static) on production apcf03 at 02 Oct 2016 08:01:27 Processing Time: 605ms