MetService is forecasting a blast of Antarctic air rolling over Aotearoa in the next few days, bringing powerful swells, strong winds, and snow for many.
With strengthening southerly winds for the South Island, south to southwest swells of 6 to 8 metres are expected today and tomorrow (Tuesday), with a period of 15 seconds for nearly all of the South Island. These powerful waves will continue to spread up the coasts of the North Island, with Wellington expecting to see 6 metre swells from Tuesday morning, and other coastal areas a few hours later. MetService meteorologist Alwyn Bakker explains “These are very large, high-energy waves, and can catch people unawares if they’re walking on beaches or driving along coastal roads. There’s also the potential for waves to affect land or property near coasts.”
The winds driving the swell are also a potential risk, with a rash of wind Watches out over the country. Exposed places on the south and east coasts of the South Island may see severe gales at times. Parts of Nelson, Wellington and the Marlborough Sounds, and the east coast of the North Island from the Wairarapa to Napier are also at risk.
Many in the lower South Island woke up to a dusting of white this morning, with snow down to 200 metres in parts of Southland and Otago, and more is expected tomorrow. “As the polar blast washes over Te Waipounamu/South Island, snow levels will lower to 100 or 200 metres in the south and east, and 600 metres in the north,” Bakker states. “Aside from Northland, Auckland, and Hamilton, Te Ika-a-Maui/North Island will also see snow levels between 300 and 500 metres tomorrow.” Driving conditions may be hazardous, and high-level roads will be particularly affected, so keep up to date with MetService’s Road Snowfall Warnings.
The cold temperatures will remain after the snow leaves, with settled weather paving the way for overnight temperatures to plummet. Expect frosts with single digit or sub-zero temperatures – it’s certainly time to get out all the winter woollies.
( IWK Bureau)