Living in the ‘roaring forties’ on a long thin island means New Zealanders should be used to the weather changing very quickly as weather systems come and go.
“This was the case earlier this week, with Cyclone Hola skirting the northeast of the North Island on Monday followed by a strong cold front spreading north late Thursday and during Friday,” says MetService meteorologist April Clark.
“However, this weekend and into the start of next week, the weather pattern over New Zealand looks less changeable.”
Cyclone Hola passed to the east of East Cape with a central pressure of 984hPa during Monday. The compact nature of the system brought severe weather to a confined portion of the country with Northland, Coromandel Peninsula and Gisborne bearing the brunt. Southeasterly gusts of 122km/h were recorded at MetService’s Kaeo Weather Radar, while many stations within the affected regions saw gusts of 65km/h or over.
Large rainfall accumulations were also seen across the northeast of the North Island, particularly about the northern ranges of Gisborne where 106mm fell in a 16 hour period at one Gisborne District Council rain gauge.
The next weather system pushed onto the far South late Thursday and continued north during Friday bringing heavy rain to the west of the South Island and strong northwest winds for eastern regions from Southland right through to Wairarapa. Milford Sound recorded 157.8mm of rain from midday Thursday to 2am Friday, while Mount Hutt saw northwest gusts up to 163 km/h during Friday morning.
The weekend saw a change to more settled weather with a ridge of high pressure stalling to the east. This high, though not directly over the country, is now the conductor of any weather features trying to push onto New Zealand.
A few showers embedded within a southeast flow will continue over the northern and eastern parts of the North Island early next week while a front trying to push onto Fiordland and Westland today will slowly do so on Monday (with heavy rain warnings now issued for these areas). The dry spell experienced over the rest of the country this weekend starts to break down on Tuesday when the high to the east moves further away from New Zealand.