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Santa rides an atmospheric river toward New Zealand

THURSDAY, DECEMBER 20, 2018

Santa is expected to deliver a soggy Christmas to large parts of New Zealand this year, as an atmospheric river of moisture stretches from the tropics all the way to Aotearoa.

Rainfall could be heavy at times across the North Island with some rain reaching the top of the South Island. The heaviest falls are expected across the Coromandel Peninsula, Bay of Plenty, and Gisborne where rainfall totals may exceed 50 mm.

With the soaking rainfall comes the risk for areas of flooding, especially in low-lying areas and spots with poor drainage.

For Auckland, Tauranga, and Hamilton it may turn out to be one of the wettest Christmas Days on record.

The wettest Christmas Day on record
(9am 25th December to 9am 26th December)
Auckland 24.4 mm (1987)
Tauranga 47.0 mm (1926)
Hamilton 37.8 mm (1968)

This news is not ideal for campers, trampers, boaties, and travelers. Keep a sharp weather eye to the latest forecast should you have outdoor plans for the big day.

The North Island could continue to see showers and even a few thunderstorms on Boxing Day.
The Christmas Eve-Christmas Day period is expected to feature high levels of humidity, too.

Meanwhile, residents of the middle and lower South Island are on the ‘nice list’ this year. Christmas Eve is expected to feature plenty of sunshine and pleasant temperatures. On Christmas Day, New Zealand’s best weather will be found across Otago, Southland, and the lower West Coast. Christchurch looks to sit on the border, with rain just to the north and dry conditions just to the south.

Boxing Day looks ok across the South Island with some sunshine and a few, isolated showers.

Bay of Islands
Christmas Eve: Rain arriving. Max near 19°C.
Christmas Day: Periods of rain, some heavy. Windy. Humid with a max near 20°C.
Boxing Day: Mostly cloudy with a chance for occasional showers or a thunderstorm. Breezy. Max near 22°C.

Auckland
Christmas Eve: Rain arriving. Max near 20°C.
Christmas Day: Periods of rain, some heavy. Windy. Humid with a max near 20°C.
Boxing Day: Mostly cloudy with a chance for occasional showers or a thunderstorm. Breezy. Max near 22°C.

Coromandel
Christmas Eve: An increasing chance for rain later in the day. Max near 19°C.
Christmas Day: Periods of rain, some heavy. Windy. Humid with a max near 19°C.
Boxing Day: Mostly cloudy with a chance for occasional showers or a thunderstorm. Breezy. Max near 21°C.

Hamilton
Christmas Eve: Increasing cloud with showers possible late. Max near 21°C.
Christmas Day: Periods of rain, some heavy. Windy. Humid with a max near 19°C.
Boxing Day: Mostly cloudy with a chance for occasional showers or a thunderstorm. Breezy. Max near 21°C.

Tauranga
Christmas Eve: Increasing cloud with showers possible late. Max near 20°C.
Christmas Day: Periods of rain, some heavy. Windy. Humid with a max near 19°C.
Boxing Day: Mostly cloudy with a chance for showers or a thunderstorm. Breezy. Max near 21°C.

Taupo
Christmas Eve: Increasing cloud. Max near 20°C.
Christmas Day: Rain becoming heavy. Turning windy. Max near 18°C.
Boxing Day: Scattered showers and thunderstorms possible. Max near 21°C.

Hawke’s Bay
Christmas Eve: Mostly cloudy with showers possible. Max near 20°C.
Christmas Day: Steadier rain arriving. Windy and humid with a max near 22°C.
Boxing Day: Periods of rain possible along with the chance of a thunderstorm. Breezy and warmer. Max near 25°C.

Wellington
Christmas Eve: Mostly sunny. Max near 18°C.
Christmas Day: Increasing cloud. Chance of showers or rain, particularly later in the day. Max near 21°C.
Boxing Day: Scattered showers possible. Breezy. Max near 19°C.

Nelson
Christmas Eve: Mostly sunny. Max near 20°C.
Christmas Day: Increasing cloud. Chance of showers or rain, particularly later in the day. Max near 23°C.
Boxing Day: A few showers possible, and maybe a thunderstorm. Max near 22°C.

Christchurch
Christmas Eve: Sunny. Max near 21°C.
Christmas Day: More cloud than sun. Some rain nearby to the north. Max near 21°C.
Boxing Day: Slight chance of a shower, otherwise partly sunny. Max near 23°C.

Dunedin
Christmas Eve: Mostly sunny. Max near 20°C.
Christmas Day: Sunny. Max near 21°C.
Boxing Day: Partly sunny and becoming breezy. Max near 18°C.

Queenstown/Wanaka
Christmas Eve: Mostly sunny. Max near 19°C.
Christmas Day: Sunny and warmer. Max near 22°C.
Boxing Day: Partly sunny and cooler with a passing shower possible. Max near 18°C.

27th December through to New Year’s Day: After the potentially soggy Christmas period in the North Island, conditions are expected to improve as we head toward the New Year.

High pressure is likely to set up near New Zealand beginning around the 27th and remain in place for several days. This will lead to mostly tranquil conditions for the last few days of 2018 and likely for New Year’s Day as well. Temperatures are expected to be near average or slightly warmer than average during this time.


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