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Otago Blizzard likely

Issued by MetService at 12:05pm 02-Jun-2005

Cold and Stormy for Friday.
Otago Blizzard likely.
Coasts In for a buffeting.

MetService meteorologists are warning of cold stormy weather for Thursday night and Friday. Warnings have been issued for wind, waves and snow.

"It's another polar outbreak similar to what we had earlier this week", commented MetService Weather Ambassador, Bob McDavitt. "A low-pressure system is coming out from the Southern Ocean and deepening over the Chatham Islands, bringing bitterly cold squally west to southwest winds."

* Gales are forecast for many western areas, including Auckland. Winds are forecast to reach severe gale force about Coastal Otago, Otago Peninsula, Bank's Peninsula, Hawke's Bay and Wairarapa especially on Thursday night and Friday morning. This may cause some damage to powerlines, trees and roofs, and make driving conditions hazardous.

* Snow is forecast to affect all South Island Alpine passes on Thursday and may affect the Desert Road in the North Island on Friday. Heavy snowfalls are forecast for South Otago, the Catlins and the higher parts of Dunedin. In these regions the combination of snow and wind is likely to produce freezing cold blizzard-like conditions.

* Heavy seas and swell associated with this low-pressure are likely to buffet all western coasts, and also the eastern stretch between Wellington and Gisborne until Saturday.

McDavitt said that holiday travellers may wish to check the latest weather forecasts and take extra care in timing their journey. "Winds are relaxing on Saturday and for the remainder of Queen's Birthday weekend".

ENDS

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