Start of a wild week Gales thunder and snow for Monday
A mixed weather week kicks off today with a brace of hazardous and potentially damaging weather conditions across New Zealand. An active front is sweeping up the country, bringing a risk of thunderstorms and heavy rain to Auckland, Wellington and the west of both Islands. There will also be severe gales in the east from the Wairarapa southwards, and snow down to 700m in the south.
The front brings a burst of atmospheric instability, sparking thunderstorms with hail and localised downpours, spreading north into Wellington, Kapiti and New Plymouth around rush hour, and to Auckland after dark. There is a risk of severe thunderstorms bringing damaging wind gusts and the chance of a tornado for many western areas, including Auckland where lightning activity is expected to peak between 6 and 9pm tonight.Falls of 25mm per hour and over 1500 lightning strikes per hour have already been observed on the West Coast.
Northwesterlies ahead of the front have been gusting 133kph at Cape Turnagain in the Wairarapa, and are expected to gust 110kph in Cook Strait this afternoon. A southerly blast behind the front is forecast to bring severe southwesterly gales to Southland and Dunedin this afternoon, then through Banks Peninsula to Wellington and the southern Wairarapa late tonight. The cold air behind this front will bring snow to around 700m as far north as Mackenzie Basin. Although only a few centimetres of snow are expected to fall on the Lindis Pass, this is a precursor to further snowfall expected this weekend when temperatures are set to drop giving a wintery feel over the weekend and into next week.
After today's front a brief ridge brings more settled weather on Tuesday,before a second front brings more wild weather on Wednesday. This next front will follow a similar pattern of northwest gales and heavy rain in the west. "The rapid succession of fronts this week means that conditions will change rapidly, and potentially dangerously," said meteorologist Tom Adams, "Checking the latest forecast and warnings will be especially important in this dynamic weather pattern."
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