Despite the upcoming summer season, a huge storm is expected to hit New Zealand this week, bringing strong winds, snow, and waves over 9 m (30 feet). Severe weather is set to begin in the South Island on Tuesday afternoon, October 22, with a front dropping the temperature to near freezing, said MetService meteorologist Andrew James.
A cold front is forecast to move northwards across the South Island on October 22 and across the North Island on Wednesday. This front is expected to bring snow down to 300 m (984 feet) about eastern districts of the South Island today, with significant accumulations likely above 500 m (1 640 feet) from northern Otago to the Kaikoura Ranges. A Heavy Snow Watch remains in force for these areas.
The snow in these areas is likely to cause disruption to some higher roads and passes in these areas, and cause distress to livestock.
Gale-force southwest winds would sweep most areas as the front would move on to the North Island on Wednesday, October 23.
According to James, there would be west to southwest gales above 85 km/h (53 mph) with gusts even higher from Northland, Auckland to Taranaki and eastwards to East Cape. Wellington, Marlborough, and Kaikoura are included in the areas that could also be affected.
GFS data contains significant #weather #wetter of type "#StrongGale" with wind gusts of more than 85 km/h near #Nelson (#NewZealand) for tomorrow night given in local time. The GFS forecast data predicts wind gusts with 94.1 km/h for 22.10.2019 - 12:00 UTC. pic.twitter.com/dHk1wf7jpK— ASKMeteo (@ASKMeteo) October 21, 2019
Ahead of the front, showers and heavy rains are also forecasted across the North Island. Meanwhile, the Auckland region would experience southwesterly winds and some showers. The North Island's west coast would also experience southwest swells more than 5 m (16 feet).
"This is going to be quite a significant event. On land, we are warning people to take precautions from the high winds, don't leave anything loose outside. And at sea there are going to be some very large swells," James said.
Featured image credit: MetService
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