Flights cancelled by 'wok-like' fog

CHRIS HYDE
Last updated 15:29 02/04/2014

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MetService says fog could cause more problems at Palmerston North Airport with "wok-like" conditions already cancelling eight flights.

An Air New Zealand spokesman said eight passenger flights in and out of Palmerston North had been cancelled this morning due to low cloud, with a number of other flights diverted to Whanganui.

Affected passengers were being accommodated by road or on later Air New Zealand services, he said.

MetService meteorologist Daniel Corbett said a patch of low cloud 300m above ground level had rolled in at about 7.30am this morning.

Corbett said that was now breaking up, but light winds and a "rugged" looking high over the region meant it could return again tomorrow.

"There's a lot of moisture at lower levels from the high, even though there has been no rain at all.

"It's like having a big wok and then you put the lid on it like this high has. Eventually the glass starts fogging up. It's the perfect recipe."

Corbett said in the next day or two, conditions in Manawatu would remain relatively similar, but the fog was so patchy that there was only a small risk of more delays.

As the week went on the high would become even more "moth-eaten" and would finally move on towards the weekend.

Those booked on flight to and from Palmerston North were advised to visit the Air New Zealand arrivals and departures page for the most up to date schedule and travel information.

The next rain-bearing front was still a way off for the region's parched paddocks, but Corbett said he was hopeful it would arrive by the end of next week.

That would be welcome relief for farmers who have endured what is thought by local weather watchers to be the driest March on record in Palmerston North.

Niwa's long-term outlook for April to June, released today, suggests dry conditions could continue in the next three months.

April-June rainfall totals are equally likely to be normal or below normal in the southwest of the North Island, the outlook says.

There was just a 20 per cent chance that rainfall would be above normal in the next three months.

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- Manawatu Standard

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