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Source: MetService

Covering period of Thursday 16 – Monday 20 November – An uptick in weather activity is expected over the next few days across the country as MetService forecasts several frontal weather systems to pay Aotearoa New Zealand a visit. Friday looks set to bring some form of wet weather for most places, while the weekend ahead sees more of a north-south split in the expected rainfall distribution across the country.

Today (Thursday) marks the start of the run of active weather as the fronts make landfall over the South Island, bringing rainfall with them, and possible snow for a time over higher parts of the lower and central South Island. These fronts steadily track northwards and move over the North Island.

MetService meteorologist Mmathapelo Makgabutlane details: “The highest rain accumulations for Thursday and Friday are expected over western places. Orange Heavy Rain Warnings have been issued for Westland, the Tararua Range and Mount Taranaki, while Heavy Rain Watches in place for Fiordland north of Doubtful Sound, and Buller around and north of Westport and Tasman west of Motueka.”

It will also be a windy affair on Friday, with the gustiest conditions expected for Marlborough, Wellington and southern Wairarapa, all covered by a Strong Wind Watch. “More exposed areas may see those maximum winds approaching severe gale, ramping up on what has already been something of a breezy week across these areas,” Makgabutlane adds.

Heading into the weekend, a low pressure system forms to the northwest of the North Island, slowly moving eastwards across the island, then parking just north of the Bay of Plenty on Monday and Tuesday. This low pressure system is expected to be the main player in the Island’s wet weather all the way into mid next week.

This spells widespread rain for the northern half of the country this weekend. “It’s looking like the kind of weekend where any recently sown spring plants won’t have a shortage of water,” Makgabutlane says.

On Monday and Tuesday the wettest weather is expected for Tairāwhiti Gisborne, the Hawke’s Bay and the Wairarapa.

“What’s of particular interest is the way this rain-bringing weather system lingers, increasing the likelihood of higher rainfall for these areas,” Makgabutlane highlights. “There is still some uncertainty around this weather system, however, so keeping up to date with the latest forecasts will be key over the coming days.”

This low pressure system is not associated with Tropical Cyclone Mal, which was reclassified to a extratropical low today and is expected to continue southeastward away from Aotearoa New Zealand.

Pivoting to the South Island, Saturday brings brighter weather under a narrow ridge of high pressure, and conditions are expected to remain dry for the Queenstown Marathon. The exception will be the far south that gets clipped by a weak front passing through. Into Sunday things get a bit cloudier with some showers possible in the second half of the day for eastern and inland areas.

For media enquiries or to arrange an interview with one of our meteorologists please call 04 4700 848 or email

Understanding MetService Severe Weather Warning System

Severe Thunderstorm Warnings (Localised Red Warning) – take cover now:

This warning is a red warning for a localised area.
When extremely severe weather is occurring or will do within the hour.
Severe thunderstorms have the ability to have significant impacts for an area indicated in the warning.
In the event of a Severe Thunderstorm Red Warning: Act now!

Red Warnings are about taking immediate action:

When extremely severe weather is imminent or is occurring
Issued when an event is expected to be among the worst that we get – it will have significant impact and it is possible that a lot of people will be affected
In the event of a Red Warning: Act now!

Orange Warnings are about taking action:

When severe weather is imminent or is occurring
Typically issued 1 – 3 days in advance of potential severe weather
In the event of an Orange Warning: Take action.

Thunderstorm Watch means thunderstorms are possible, be alert and consider action

Show the area that thunderstorms are most likely to occur during the validity period.
Although thunderstorms are often localised, the whole area is on watch as it is difficult to know exactly where the severe thunderstorm will occur within the mapped area.
During a thunderstorm Watch: Stay alert and take action if necessary.

Watches are about being alert:

When severe weather is possible, but not sufficiently imminent or certain for a warning to be issued
Typically issued 1 – 3 days in advance of potential severe weather.
During a Watch: Stay alert

Outlooks are about looking ahead:

To provide advanced information on possible future Watches and/or Warnings
Issued routinely once or twice a day
Recommendation: Plan