Adding to the South Island’s winter misery of late, another “potent Antarctic front” is set to hit New Zealand this weekend dumping heavy snow as low as 200m (656ft), while an even stronger front builds south of Australia.
Saturday in NZ is forecast to be gusty and cold with weather experts warning that that’ll only be a taster of the severe wintry blasts to come. The front will gradually shift northeast throughout the day to be replaced by a strong southwest flow, likely bringing snow down to 200m for much of the south island.
Civil Defence says it’s expecting hazardous tides and high seas on the West Coast from Saturday until Tuesday. While @BenNollWeather says a Southern Ocean storm is pouncing on the area bringing 21m (70 foot) waves to the south west, as well as heavy snow, hail, isolated thunder and severe gales:
Meanwhile, farmers in the lower part of the South Island are being warned that windchills over the next few days will be “brutal” — particularly in Southland, Otago and parts of the West Coast.
WeatherWatch head analyst Philip Duncan said: “The windchill will be significant in the lower South Island. If you have newborn lambs and calves, just be aware this is going to be a brutal windchill for you – well below zero, minus fours, minus fives as we head into Friday night.”
Heavy snow was falling above 500m in Fiordland, NZ Saturday morning, which is expected to continue until 11pm. Heavy snow was also forecast for southern parts of Central Otago and the Southern Lakes, between 2pm and 11pm on Saturday.
“Snow accumulations may approach warning amounts above 700m,” MetService said. “The strong wind warning for severe gale south-westerlies in effect for this area could cause snow drifts.”
While the Milford Road Alliance pointed out that heavy and widespread snow is already causing tree-falls, power-outages and road closures. More delays, disruptions and closures across New Zealand are expected throughout the weekend, with continued debilitating snow in the forecast.
Finally, Australia won’t miss out on the winter fun.
Temperatures are forecast to tumble across the entire country, while heavy snow is expected to accumulate in the Southeast over the next week-or-so — according to latest GFS runs:
The cold times are returning, in line with historically low solar activity:
Grand Solar Minimum + Pole Shift