Severe weather on way

By Anne-Marie Emerson


A "significant winter storm" is heading Wanganui's way, bringing severe gales, rain, hail, snow and very low temperatures.

Expected to be worse than the polar blast that blew through Wanganui in late May, the storm is predicted to hit Wanganui late tonight and ease off on Saturday.

MetService forecaster Daniel Corbett said the entire country would be hit by a deep low that was funnelling cold air from Antarctica.

"The weather is going to be pretty mean and pretty ugly over the next few days," he said.

The wind is expected to swing around to the south tonight, and by tomorrow it will be very cold and wet in Wanganui, with some hail and possibly severe gales around exposed coastal areas.

Mr Corbett said snow would affect the Desert Rd and parts of SH4, and may fall to several hundred metres, or even lower.

By Friday - the peak of the storm - the winds will be "bone-chilling" and will make the temperature seem close to freezing.

Mr Corbett said although it would still be cold on Saturday, the rain and strong winds would ease.

Wanganui's emergency manager, Max Benseman, said that as of yesterday afternoon there had been no specific weather watches or warnings for Wanganui issued by MetService.

But he advised people, especially those travelling, to stay up-to-date with weather forecasts.

"The rivers in the district are higher than we've seen for some time - as a result of the drought - but still well below warning levels," Mr Benseman said.

To learn how to prepare for a storm, Mr Benseman recommends people visit the Wanganui District Council's civil defence page, which can be found at www.wanganui.govt.nz/CDEM.

- WANGANUI CHRONICLE

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