November 29, 2023

New ‘big cold blast’ incoming; warnings of ‘bitterly’ chilly temperatures, gales, snow

The 'big cold blast' is expected to arrive on Thursday, forecasters say.

 A new spring blast is set to hit New Zealand later this week with “bitterly” cold winds expected for parts of the South Island as well as heavy snow. 

The “big cold blast” would arrive on Thursday night and continue into Friday, WeatherWatch said. 

MetService’s severe weather outlook showed a front moving northeast over the Southland and onto the North Island on Thursday.

“There is high confidence that rainfall accumulations will reach warning amounts in Fiordland, Westland, Buller and the headwaters of the Otago and Canterbury lakes and rivers,” the forecaster said.

“There is high confidence in severe northwest gales for exposed parts of the Canterbury high country and foothills, Marlborough, Wellington and Wairarapa south of Carterton.” 

Heavy rain and strong wind watches were already in place throughout the South Island and lower North Island, in effect from Wednesday evening until at least Thursday morning. 

MetService added a strong and “bitterly cold southwesterly flow” was then expected to affect the South Island from Friday. 

That system was expected to bring snow showers to as low as sea levels over parts of the south, MetService said. 

“There is low confidence in warning amounts of snow for Clutha, Southland and the south of Fiordland.

“While warning amounts of snow are not expected farther north over the South Island there is still a risk that roads will be affected by snow.” 

Temperatures will dip across New Zealand from Saturday, with frost expected to form in sheltered areas of the country. 

In the next few days, more will also be known about the track of Tropical Cyclone Lola – which was expected to hit the Vanuatu city of Luganville on Tuesday. 

Early indications suggested the remnants of the storm would reach the North Island early next week.

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