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Paparoa National Park – new weather forecasts

Paparoa National Park – new weather forecasts

Critical safety decisions in New Zealand’s high country will soon be made easier by important changes to MetService mountain forecasts.

Five-day mountain forecasts, which are funded by the Department of Conservation (DOC), are now being issued earlier in the morning, based on the latest computer model guidance received overnight. All users of the mountains and national parks – whether trampers, climbers or hunters, or the providers of transport and support services - will be able to make decisions about the day after the first forecasts are issued by 6am.

MetService is also adding new, tailored forecasts for Paparoa National Park to coincide with the December 1 partial opening of the $12 million, 55km-long, two to three-day Paparoa Track and for the yet-to-be completed 45km-long Pike 29 Memorial Track.

MetService Public Weather Services Manager Melanie Graham says the revised issue times have been designed to help outdoor enthusiasts and operators.

“We know users want quality information as early as possible to ensure safe and practical decisions are made.

“Our meteorologists deliver these mountain forecasts each day before dawn, and these are monitored and updated 24/7 when new guidance is available.

“The meteorologists focus on wind speed and direction, precipitation amount, snow levels and wind chill specific to locations within the parks.”

The mountain forecasts are on the MetService’s revamped website, at and on the MetService app. They will also be available at DOC visitor centres.

They will be updated daily before 6am and then reviewed in the early afternoon and late in the evening, taking into account new guidance and observations.

The new Paparoa National Park forecasts are one of 10 national and forest park forecasts for the country, a number of which include DOC’s “Great Walks”.

Melanie Graham says knowing what weather to expect helps with enjoying and being fully prepared for the park experience, regardless of being in a sub-alpine environment, on the top of a mountain or in a river valley.

The Paparoa National Park forecast has three location points – the Punakaiki Visitor Centre, the Smoke-Ho car park (at 240m) and the Moonlight Tops Hut (at 1020m).

DOC Products, Standards and Policies Manager Chris Bowen says the introduction of these “timely and site-specific forecasts lets trampers on the new Paparoa Great Walk, and other alpine locations, make good safety decisions outdoors".

The New Zealand Mountain Safety Council (MSC) is welcoming the revised issue times and the new Paparoa forecast.

Chief Executive Mike Daisley says the dedicated forecast “will be of great benefit to those undertaking the new Paparoa Great Walk, whether on foot or by bike”.

“Additionally, it will serve as a great tool for numerous other popular outdoor recreation locations in the general area.

“Having location-specific weather forecasts is one of the most critically important trip planning and preparation tools. The West Coast is well known for its wild and fast changing weather and the addition of the Paparoa forecast will be very well received by locals and visitors.”

MSC is also pleased about the early morning mountain forecast updates.

“Trampers, hunters, mountaineers and many more outdoor users will now have access to updated forecasts early enough to inform trip plans for the day ahead, instead of having to rely on forecasts often issued the evening before.

“This will lead to more informed decision-making and the ability to adjust plans based on the latest weather knowledge. This change will be of huge benefit to everyone heading out into these mountain locations,” he says.


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