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Winter Flips The Switch: Wet Weather Returns

High pressure, dry air, and clear skies combined to bring calm frosty mornings across Aotearoa this past weekend. Some Otago towns saw their coldest June temperatures on record, with Alexandra Airport recording severe frosts for both Saturday and Sunday mornings. This week, MetService is forecasting winter to flip the switch and show its wetter, changeable side.

A rainy front moving up the South Island today is reminiscent of the more familiar winter westerly , but with a warm twist. MetService Meteorologist Tahlia Crabtree explains, “Strong northwesterlies and rain is to be expected during winter, however the air with this front is warmer than is typical. Overnight minimums across the country will be warmer than average, while eastern South Island regions will see temperatures climb to the high teens during Tuesday and Wednesday.”

Another front arrives on Wednesday, spreading rain with a stark southerly change across the country on Thursday. Snow is likely for alpine areas, but especially for the northern Canterbury High Country and about the Kaikōura Ranges. “Keep an eye on our Road Snow Warnings if you’re planning to traverse any mountain passes, especially father north,” advises Crabtree. After a few warm days some South Island ski fields will be happy to see some natural snowfall towards the end of the working week.

Wet weather is expected to continue through to Friday. Two broad ridges of high pressure over the Pacific Ocean and the Tasman Sea create a low pressure sandwich around Aotearoa on Friday. There is still uncertainty about where the most rain will fall, but the driest regions are top contenders for being the soggiest this weekend.

Understanding our Severe Weather Watches and Warnings

Outlooks are about looking ahead:

To provide advanced information on possible future Watches and/or Warnings

Issued routinely once or twice a day

Recommendation: Plan

Watches are about being alert:

When severe weather is possible, but not sufficiently imminent or certain for a warning to be issued

Typically issued 1 - 3 days in advance of potential severe weather.

During a Watch: Stay alert

Orange Warnings are about taking action:

When severe weather is imminent or is occurring

Typically issued 1 - 3 days in advance of potential severe weather

In the event of an Orange Warning: Take action

Red Warnings are about taking immediate action:

When extremely severe weather is imminent or is occurring

Issued when an event is expected to be among the worst that we get – it will have significant impact and it is possible that a lot of people will be affected

In the event of a Red Warning: Act now!

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