The graphics and statistical information on this page fill gradually as they become available, with some not available until the next day.
The page is updated every 30 minutes at about 20 and 50 minutes past the hour.
For weather news as it breaks that is tagged and organised, use the links on the Weather and Climate Media Reports page.
Heavy winter weather batters New Zealand's North Island
| Here is the view of New Zealand from NASA's Terra satellite at 12.00 NZST, Thursday 13 July. The image uses three of the satellite's bands (3-6-7) to highlight lying snow (bright red) and high cloud composed of ice crystals (reddish-orange grading through to peach colour). Lower cloud made up of liquid water shows up as a white or off-white colour while vegetation is green. The extent of the snow across the South Island can be seen, while in the North Island thick, high cloud with ice crystal tops is spiralling into the low located in Hawke's Bay, NE of Napier. NASA Worldview
Continuing the AWN story on 13 July, Thursday 13 July began with MetService warnings and watches for snow, heavy rain and gales covering a large part of the country.
The low over the North Island continued to feed a stream of rain, sleet and snow across the east and the northern high country of the South Island, but this eased, at least at lower levels, as the morning progressed and sun broke through in places revealing a snow-covered countryside. The ski resort village at Mt Lyford in the Kaikoura high country 130km NE of Christchurch reported 60-70cm new snow on the ground.
Thursday and the first half of Friday were appalling days across the southern, central and eastern North Island, with the worst of the weather slowly contracting north with the low pressure system. Hurricane-force winds and heavy rain with flooding battered the south, while snow up to half a metre deep piled up from the centre of the island east to the Hawke's Bay area.
- Overnight into Thursday, conditions in Cook Strait were atrocious, with average wind speeds of 130km/h during the morning with 11m waves. Inter-island ferries remained suspended.
- Wellington was battered by wind gusting as high as 160km/h on Mt Kaukau, just north of the city, and 167km/h at Baring Head, east of the entrance to Wellington Harbour, according to Metservice.
- Tom Adams from Metservice, speaking early on Friday morning, said that in the Wellington area it had "calmed down" at the airport and in the hills "just to 110km/h gusts" with some stations reporting 190mm of rain in the past 24 hours.
- The wind in the lower North Island caused widespread damage, with trees downed and some roofing iron blown off. Wind and the weight of heavy snow brought down powerlines causing 10,000 blackouts.
- Flooding in the Wairarapa area NE of Wellington caused town inundations and some evacuations. Numerous substantial land slips as well as fallen trees blocked roads in the southern half of the North Island.
- In the centre of North Island, snow fell as far north as Rotorua. Half a metre of snow with blizzard conditions were reported overnight into Friday at Turoa ski area at 1,600m, on the SW side of Mt Ruapehu. East of there, the towns of Raetihi and Ohakune were cut off by snow said to be the heaviest in more than 20 years.
| The Desert Road at its summit in central North Island. The chain of Mt Ruapehu's volcanic mountains catches the rising sun on the left on Sunday 16 July. NZ Transport Agency
RNZ provided extensive coverage, giving detailed reports late on the Thursday, and again on Friday afternoon as the weather began returning to some normality. This report details the unusually heavy snow in the North Island. These were in addition to nearly continuous chatty radio and TV reports such as this in the thick of the bad weather in the North Island on Thursday afternoon.
New Zealand only has a short while to draw breath, with a further bout of wind, rain and snow, falling as low as 400m in the South Island, due to move in from Thursday 20 to Saturday 22 July.
[RNZ, Canterbury Weather Updates, Metservice, NZ Civil Defence, NIWA]