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Threat situation - MetService

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Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Heavy rain and severe gales for many parts of New Zealand, and a period of snow to low levels in the far south

A significant severe weather event is expected to affect much of the country over the weekend and into early next week. In particular, severe gales are forecast for many places and could make driving hazardous, especially for high sided vehicles and bicycles, while snow is expected down to low levels in the far south. Severe Weather Warnings and/or Watches will likely be issued on Friday for this event, and people are advised to keep up to date with the latest forecasts for their areas, especially those considering travelling.

An active front is forecast to move eastwards across New Zealand over the weekend, preceded by a strong and moist north to northwest flow and followed by a strong and cold west to southwest flow into early next week. This front delivers a period of heavy rain to some western areas, severe gales for many places, and snow to low levels across western and southern parts of the South Island.

On Saturday and Sunday, there is high confidence of rainfall accumulations reaching warning amounts, and north to northwesterly winds becoming severe in Fiordland, southern Westland and the Canterbury and Otago headwaters, while northern Westland, Buller, Nelson and the Marlborough Sounds, including the Richmond Range have moderate confidence for both wind and rain. In the east of the South Island, there is high confidence of severe gale northwesterlies for the remainder of Marlborough and Canterbury on Saturday and Sunday, low confidence for Central Otago, North Otago and Dunedin on Sunday, and moderate confidence for Southland and Clutha on Sunday.

On Monday and Tuesday, snow is forecast to reach low levels in the far south, possibly down to sea level, with low confidence of heavy snow above 200 metres in Fiordland, Southland and Clutha. In addition, there is moderate confidence of severe gale southwesterlies affecting Fiordland, Southland and Clutha, with low confidence for the remainder of Otago as depicted on the chart. The combination of strong southwesterly winds and cold air is likely to cause stress to livestock. Also, many higher roads and passes across the South Island are likely to be affected by snow on Monday and Tuesday.

Meanwhile, across the North Island, on Sunday there is low confidence of warning amounts of rain for Taranaki, the King Country, the Central Plateau, the eastern Bay of Plenty Ranges and the Tararua Range. In addition, later Saturday and on Sunday, there is high confidence of severe gale northwesterlies affecting south Taranaki across to Wairarapa and down to Wellington, with moderate confidence for the remainder of the North Island as depicted on the chart. Then on Monday, there is moderate confidence of severe gale westerlies in exposed parts of Hawkes Bay south of Hastings down to Wairarapa north of about Featherston. In addition, snow may affect the Desert Road on Monday and Tuesday.

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