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A vicious bite of winter

August 7, 2014

A vicious bite of winter

Gale force winds and gusts in excess of 100km/h have already been recorded across many parts of the lower South Island on Thursday, and MetService meteorologists are warning of further strong winds still to come for inland parts of Canterbury, and Wairarapa with Severe Weather Warnings in force. Winds are also likely to increase for Wellington and parts of the Nelson region ahead of a front crossing New Zealand.

Winds are not the only thing to be keeping an eye on heading into the weekend, with a vicious southerly blast set to follow this belt of gales, heralding the return of colder days and snowfall to near sea level for Fiordland, Southland and Otago. Road Snowfall warnings are in place for the Milford Road as well as the Lewis, Lindis and Arthurs Passes. A Heavy Snowfall warning has also been issued for Fiordland, Southland and Clutha, with forecasts of 10 to 20cm over the higher ground of the Catlins and inland Southland. Motorists are advised that snowfall overnight Thursday and intoFriday could well cause disruption in many parts of Southland and Otago, including parts of Dunedin.

"Overnight and into Friday morning we are going to see winter return with a vengeance across the lower South Island," MetService Meteorologist John Law said. "It's really going to pay to keep a close eye on the Severe Weather Warnings, Watches and forecasts before you head out."

The bulk of the snow is forecast for the far south of the country, with heavier amounts above 300 metres. However, some snow showers are still forecast to run into the West Coast of the South Island and skirt around the eastern coast, meaning spots like Banks Peninsula and the Port Hills could also see some of the white stuff.

The colder southerly winds are forecast to continue heading northwards across the North Island this weekend, with temperatures forecast to take a tumble through the nights with temperatures across inland parts heading back down towards freezing. Even in Auckland, forecast temperatures overnight into Saturday are likely to only be around 4C. Snow is also in the forecast for the higher parts of the Central Plateau, with a road snowfall warning in place for the Desert Road Thursday night into Friday.

The weekend does bring improvement in the forecast as a new area of high pressure spreads across New Zealand from the west, pushing the majority of the showers away to the east on Saturday. For Sunday, the North Island looks like the place to be with plenty of dry and fine weather in store. A northwest flow returns to the South Island, bringing once again a west/east split across the country with cloud and wetter weather revisiting the west of the Southern Alps.

Keep up to date with the latest forecasts and any watches/warnings atmetservice.com or on mobile devices at m.metservice.com. You can also follow our updates on MetService TV, @metservice on Twitter and at blog.metservice.com.

ENDS

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