Gales and more hot weather due this week

MICHAEL DALY
Last updated 12:44 07/01/2013
Olivia Weir
ROSS GIBLIN/Fairfax NZ

Olivia Weir, 4, mucks around on her surfboard at Scorching Bay, Wellington. Cousin Lucy Stevens, 7, had taught her to surf.

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Strong winds are set to bother some parts of the country and batter others in the next few days, while areas in the South Island saturated last week are at risk of another drenching.

Today and tomorrow a brief southwest flow spreading across the country is expected to bring stronger winds and gales to central parts of the country and exposed parts of Northland and Auckland, MetService said.

Longer term, NIWA is predicting fairly average weather during the next three months. Possible exceptions are the east of the North Island where it could be drier than usual, while in the west and south of the South Island it may be wetter than usual, and in the west of the North Island it may be cooler. Southwesterly winds are expected to be "enhanced".

More immediately, southwesterly winds could gust close to severe gale from this afternoon until early tomorrow in Nelson west of Motueka, while from central Hawke's Bay to Wairarapa, west to southwest winds could gust to severe gale strength overnight and tomorrow morning.

During Wednesday an intense front is expected to move north over the South Island, MetService said.

"A very strong and moist northwest flow ahead of the front is expected to bring heavy rain to areas of the South Island and northwest gales to southern and central New Zealand."

Northwesterly gales are likely to gust severe gale strength in areas of Canterbury, Marlborough, Wellington and Wairarapa during Wednesday. Strong north to northwest winds are expected in Otago, Southland, Fiordland and Westland.

Significant heavy rain is expected in Westland, Fiordland and about the headwaters of the Otago and Canterbury lakes and rivers.

"The western and alpine areas of the South Island may see another period of heavy rain, which may pose problems to those areas affected by the wet  weather of last week," MetService public weather services manager Ramon Oosterkamp said.

HIGH TEMPERATURES

MetService is predicting temperatures in the mid- to high-20 degrees celsius in much of the north and east of the North Island for the next week, with little or no rain.

Hawke's Bay could be particularly hard hit during the next week with temperatures forecast to top 30C on Wednesday and Thursday, affected by the strong northwesterlies, and only a few showers predicted for Napier next Saturday.

Christchurch looks set for a pleasant week, particularly once Wednesday's wind is past, with temperatures in the mid-20s and no rain expected until next Monday, apart from a few showers later today.

NIWA's climate prediction for the January to March period said rainfall is likely to be near normal or above normal in west and south of the South Island, but near normal or below normal in the east of the North Island.

In other areas, rainfall is likely to be near normal.

Temperatures are likely to be near average or below average in the west of the North Island, and near average in all other regions, NIWA said. Sea surface temperatures are expected to remain close to average.

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Late-summer soil moisture levels and river flows are likely to be below normal or normal in the east of the North Island, and near normal in all other regions.

Neutral conditions - neither El Nino or La Nina - are likely to persist into the Southern Hemisphere autumn in the equatorial Pacific Ocean.

For the New Zealand region, lower than normal pressures were expected in the south Tasman Sea and to the southeast of the Chatham Islands, with enhanced southwesterly winds over the country.

Yesterday, people flocked to beaches and rivers around the country, as temperatures hit the high 20s and in some parts of the country topped 30C.

In Wellington it reached 28C and throughout parts of the Wairarapa, the temperature hit 30C.

In Auckland it reached 26C and at the other end of the country a high of 29C was recorded in Wanaka.

Spring Junction in Lewis Pass scored the highest temperature yesterday with 31C, Napier enjoyed a milder 24C, while New Plymouth and Taumarunui both reached 30C.

MetService forecaster Philippa Murdoch said the fine weekend was caused in part by a mass of warm air moving in from Australia.

- Stuff

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