Another major winter storm in New Zealand

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  • Surface pressure pattern showing a cold southerly flow over New Zealand created by a high pressure system to the west a low pressure to the east

    Hazardous travelling conditions are expected with strong winds and plentiful fresh snow

    This wintry weather is expected to improve conditions in ski resorts, which are expecting lots of fresh snow!

  • Another major winter storm in New Zealand
    13.08.2011 12:48

    Only last month New Zealand suffered a major winter storm with snow, rain, hail and strong winds. The country is now preparing for more imminent cold weather and disruptive blizzard-like conditions.

    A combination of a deepening low pressure system to the north-east of New Zealand and a high pressure centred off the south coast of Tasmania has set up a strong southerly flow from Antarctica over New Zealand today, which will bring exceptionally cold weather, gale force winds and big waves tomorrow and through the early part of next week.

    The seasons in New Zealand are the reverse of the northern hemisphere, and it is currently experiencing winter, when the mountain ranges on both islands will be snow covered. However, snow is expected down to low levels with some significant accumulations likely.

    Today it is becoming increasingly windy across the South Island, with gusts of up to 50 knots expected in coastal areas. Tomorrow this cold air will push further north, with the potential for 50-60 mph gusts across much of New Zealand.

    Most of the snow will fall over high ground, with a small chance of snowfall in coastal areas. Mount Hutt, near Christchurch on the South Island is expected to receive over 50cm of snow in the next few days, and even Christchurch by the coast could get some. Hazardous travelling conditions are expected, with these strong winds causing blizzard conditions in places.

    Last week the ski resorts reported off-piste conditions to be packed or icy in the morning, but softening up in the afternoon sunshine. With plenty of fresh snow expected over the coming days, it looks like these resorts may have a bumper week with powder conditions both on and off-piste.

    Even though the wintry conditions are expected to ease on Tuesday as the high pressure over Tasmania gradually moves eastwards, severe frosts and icy roads will present an ongoing problem as a cool south-easterly flow looks set to continue.

    By: Alison Cobb