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Damaging Severe Gales Today

Covering period of Monday 2nd - Thursday 5th October

MetService has issued a raft of Orange Strong Wind Warnings as significant and damaging severe gale westerly winds affect southern and central Aotearoa/New Zealand today.

A trough brings widespread damaging severe gales to much of the South Island and lower North Island today, with brief heavy rain for western areas. Orange Strong Wind Warnings are in force for most of the South Island, as well as Wellington and Wairarapa. These areas are in for significantly strong winds, especially for the South Island.

MetService meteorologist Ngaire Wotherspoon says “Severe northwesterly gales are expected to gust 120 km/h, perhaps reaching 140 km/h in the Canterbury High Country. Wind gusts of this strength could damage trees, powerlines, unsecured structures, and could make driving hazardous.”
A strong, showery southwesterly change follows the trough, bringing further severe gales later today. Damaging gusts could reach 130 km/h in Southland and Otago, and snow is possible to 500 metres. “Queenstown and Dunedin are particularly vulnerable to this change, especially after the flooding in Queenstown last week softened the ground, affecting tree stability in strong wind,” Wotherspoon remarks.

Brief heavy rain and thunderstorms swept up the west of the South Island, where a Heavy Rain Warning and Watch are in force until 2pm this afternoon, with some spillover into eastern areas. Rain spreads up the North Island this afternoon and evening, with a risk of thunderstorms for Taranaki.

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Winds and showers ease tonight, and Tuesday brings colder, calmer weather as a ridge of high pressure takes over in the wake of the southwest change. Temperatures across the country are expected to cool in the shade, followed by a clear and frosty night.

Wotherspoon comments “There is light at the end of the tunnel. Though Wednesday is set to start off rather fresh, sunny skies and calm winds finally win out, and most of the country can expect a few fine and warm days for the second week of the school holidays.”

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