More than 880 000 lightning strikes have been recorded over the Tasman Sea in 24 hours to Tuesday, March 7, 2023. This weather system is moving toward New Zealand’s South Island and is forecast to eventually move up to the North Island late in the week.
This weather system is forecast to move over New Zealand from March 8 to 10, 2023, with MetService forecasting heavy rain for the west of the South Island on Wednesday and Thursday. Eastern areas are expected to receive just a scattering of rain along with warm northwesterlies.
MetService Meteorologist Peter Little says that a Heavy Rain Warning has been issued for a period of heavy rain starting in Fiordland on Tuesday night and in Westland on Wednesday morning. Up to 250 mm (9.8 inches) of rain is currently forecast for the ranges of Westland south of Otira, which could lead to surface flooding and slips. North to northwest gales are also expected in exposed places ahead of the front.
People are advised to stay updated with the forecasts as more regions may be added to the warning. The northwest winds ahead of the front will cause temperatures to rise in the east of the country, with Invercargill heading for a maximum of 27 °C (80.6 °F) on Wednesday, which is 9 °C (16.2 °F) above average for this time of year. Christchurch and Gisborne are also forecast to reach 27 °C (80.6 °F) on Thursday.
The front will weaken as it moves over the North Island on Friday, although western regions can still expect a period of moderate rain. As was the case over the South Island, eastern areas will receive less rain due to the sheltering by the ranges. A change to cooler south-to-southwest winds behind the front will bring a few showers to most places, and see daytime temperatures return to the high teens or early twenties across New Zealand.
A ridge of high pressure over the Tasman Sea approaches the country by the end of the week, helping to clear the showers and ease the winds in time for the weekend.
1 Heavy rain for west of the South Island – New Zealand MetService – March 6, 2023
Featured image credit: NIWA
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