Icy blast to bring snowfall across New Zealand, thunderstorms, gales lash Auckland north

August 5, 2021

Thunderstorms are set to rumble across the North Island today before damaging gales blast the top half, and snow falls to low levels across central and southern New Zealand.

An icy cold snap straight off the Southern Ocean is due to sweep over the entire country, with both islands expected to feel the wrath of a wintry tempest bringing thundery squalls, strong winds and snow.

A strong wind watch has been issued for Auckland north from tonight and a heavy snow watch is in force for the top of the South Island for Sunday.

2️⃣0️⃣0️⃣

That's the number of lightning strikes over the Tasman and Nelson regions since 9pm last night⚡

More thundery weather today, especially for the NI, though not everyone will get it

Read all the details at https://t.co/BZWb7ZPiRd ^MM pic.twitter.com/YNygI8Ak7y

— MetService (@MetService) August 5, 2021

Southwest winds are expected to ramp up to severe gale tonight and last until daybreak, giving northern regions a second round of wild weather in days.

With the first of two major weather systems reaching our shores, lightning strikes have already illuminated skies over western regions of the North Island, with forecasters warning the storms will last through until later tonight.

MetService has warned the squally cloudbursts could be laced with hail up to 10mm in diameter and powerful 90 km/h gusts.

Thunderstorms were expected to spread across the rest of the North Island and top of the South Island across the day.

A low pressure centre sweeps across the upper North Island tonight, cranking up those southwesters💨💨

Gusts of 90 km/h are possible for parts of Auckland and Northland, which are under a Strong Wind Watch🔸
^MM pic.twitter.com/Q0yNIqCVyG

— MetService (@MetService) August 5, 2021

Weatherwatch.co.nz said blustery conditions were expected to continue across the upper North Island on Saturday, with temperatures pushing near 20C tomorrow before dropping to single digits on Monday.

On Sunday the weather will take a chilly turn, with heavy rain across the southern and central districts and snow down to low levels.

Alpine passes across the South Island are expected to be affected by the coming snow, with road snowfall warnings currently issued for Lindis Pass, and Crown Range and Milford Rds. Up to 15cm of snow is expected to settle on the road near the tunnel.

MetService forecasters are warning snow will be falling down to snow levels across the South Island and parts of the North Island.

The Central Plateau and Tararua Range is expected to be affected. Farmers are being warned to make necessary precautions for livestock potentially exposed to the cold snap.

“There’s quite a cold air mass in circulation. We see that snow reaching to lower levels than we would normally see,” said MetService forecaster Mmathapelo Makgabutlane.

The biggest snowfall is expected to happen overnight on Saturday.

Weatherwatch is warning of a second surge of gales overnight Sunday, with the main cold blast moving up New Zealand with severe gales possible in coastal areas.

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