Massive snowfall in Glenorchy. Video / George Heard
• Warning of isolated tornadoes
• Strong winds trigger warning over Auckland Harbor Bridge
• 21,500 lightning strikes over land and water in 12 hours
• Fallen tree on the motorway, accident causing delays for motorists in Auckland this morning
A savage winter storm – with heavy rain, snow and isolated tornadoes – is expected to intensify and spread further across New Zealand today, with dozens of warnings in place.
Another grim day of storms follows the MetService revealing the country faced 111,621 strikes from midnight last Monday to 7am today.
Aucklanders are being warned to expect a wild ride on Monday morning as more severe weather is expected to hit the country. Authorities are also warning of the possible complete closure of the Auckland Harbor Bridge.
Already today, a fallen tree blocked a lane on State Highway 16 under the Grafton Bridge and there was an accident on the Southern Freeway near the Princes St.
Commuters are being told to avoid traveling southbound on State Highway 20 after a multi-vehicle crash blocked two southbound lanes at the Māngere Bridge.
People traveling this route should expect delays of up to 45 minutes.
MetService meteorologist Melissa Oosterwijk said Auckland could face thunderstorms all day today, but there was a higher risk in the morning.
She also said intermittent showers for the city are expected to fall throughout the day.
Wind gusts of 110 km/h were also expected as the wild weather moves on.
The grim forecast follows a wild weekend of weather, including at least two small tornadoes at Waikanae Beach on the Kāpiti coast, flooding in areas of Wellington and heavy snowfall in parts of the island. from South.
There were more than 21,500 lightning strikes over land and water in 12 hours yesterday, MetService said.
There were 41 warnings and watches across the country last night – 18 on the North Island and 23 on the South Island.
Severe thunderstorm warnings have been issued by MetService for Wellington City, Porirua, Hutt City, Upper Hutt, Kāpiti Coast, South Wairarapa, Taranaki and up the west coast beyond Raglan, and extending towards the south through a rough Cook Strait to Marlborough, Nelson, Buller and the Canterbury High Country.
Waka Kotahi NZTA is advising motorists of potential Monday morning travel disruptions in Auckland, and Auckland Transport has also said there may be delays or cancellations on public transport today.
The agency said there was a severe wind watch in place for the Auckland Harbor Bridge and a severe thunderstorm watch for the area.
MetService predicts wind gusts could reach 80 to 100 km/h until 10 p.m. tonight. .
Waka Kotahi said this could lead to speed restrictions, lane closures or potentially a complete bridge closure.
Drivers of high-sided vehicles and motorcyclists are encouraged to avoid the Harbor Bridge while wind warnings are in place and to use National Highways 16 and 18.
Maintenance crews will be on Auckland’s transport network ready to respond to adverse weather conditions and close lanes on the bridge if wind gusts exceed thresholds, Waka Kotahi said.
“If a full closure of the bridge for safety reasons is required Monday morning, significant congestion can be expected on the network,” the agency warned.
“In this case, motorists should expect long delays and avoid non-essential travel.”
Motorists are urged to drive into the conditions, pay attention to message boards that will indicate lane closures and reduced speeds, and stay in their lane when crossing the bridge.
Travelers are also advised to plan ahead by checking the Waka Kotahi trip planner’s website or his Twitter account.
Kāpiti Coast Tornadoes
Two small tornadoes reportedly stormed Waikanae Beach on the Kāpiti coast on Sunday evening.
Reports on social media suggest windows and doors were blown out, with trees uprooted and cars damaged.
A local wrote on social media that their trampoline was now gone and the experience was “f*****” scary”.
The first tornado was spotted around 4pm – while another was reported to emergency services just after 7pm.
MetService forecaster Gerard Bellam said heavy rain in the region — with 20mm per hour between 4 p.m. and 6 p.m., and an additional 16 mm between 6 p.m. and 7 p.m. — could produce this type of weather activity.
“There is a line of active thunderstorms moving through this area right now.”
snow in the south
Snow blanketed parts of central Otago yesterday, bringing cheer to area ski areas, with the early opening of the Cardrona ski area and other southern mountains expected to follow suit in the coming days. .
Road snowfall warnings have been issued for Desert Rd, Lewis Pass, Arthur’s Pass, Lindis Pass, Crown Range Rd and Milford Rd.
Transport agency Waka Kotahi NZ said Lindis Pass was closed just after 10 a.m. due to heavy snowfall, while snow also closed Milford Rd and Crown Range Rd.
Savage winter weather created chaos in parts of Otago and Southland over the weekend, and forecasters are urging southerners to prepare for the same over the next few days.
Heavy rain, snow showers and winds of up to 100km/h kept emergency services busy in Dunedin with small landslides in Caversham; heavy flooding at Marne St, Andersons Bay; a fence and a fallen tree on the roads; and ice on the northern highway.
A police spokeswoman said it was a similar scene in central Otago and the Lake District.
Heavy rain yesterday caused flooding on State Highway 6 between Luggate and Cromwell as well as at the intersection of Frankton and Perkins Rds in Queenstown.
Police were also alerted to several weather-related incidents in the area as cars struggled in slippery conditions, including a car which slid backwards on ice in Weaver St, Queenstown, around 3pm yesterday.
It got stuck and had to be towed. No injuries were reported, she said.
Ski resorts made the most of the blizzard on Saturday, but after snowdrifts reached around a meter and more heavy snow fell overnight, several closed yesterday.
MetService meteorologist Stephen Glassey said temperatures fell below freezing for much of the region, including Dunedin Airport where they fell to -4.4 degrees Celsius yesterday morning.
He said the snowfall was heaviest in the Lake District and on Milford Rd, where around 70cm fell at the Homer Tunnel; and in a rare event, it fell to sea level on Stewart Island.
Last night the MetService forecast severe thunderstorms with heavy rain, large hail, strong winds and possible tornadoes overnight in Fiordland, Westland and the Canterbury High Country.
– Additional reporting, Otago Daily Times