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Source: MetService

Covering period of Thu 14 – Mon 18 December – The end of the year is fast approaching, and here at MetService we’re getting more and more queries about what weather is forecast for Christmas. But, we’ve still got a few more doors of the advent calendar to open before we can nail down the likely weather on the 25th. However, read on to find out more about what weather to expect in the lead up and a brief look at the big day.

MetService meteorologist Lewis Ferris says, “This weekend brings a mix of warm and wet weather as humid air steams in from the Tasman Sea. From Tuesday next week we can expect more settled weather for most parts of the country.”

Tomorrow (Friday) the wind turns northwesterly across the country which means rain will be pilling on to the west coast of the South Island while temperatures are forecast to climb into the high twenties along the east coasts, with Blenheim picked to reach 29°C. Strong northwesterlies are likely across the Southern Alps, around Southland and about the Cook Strait.

Heavy Rain Watches have been issued from Fiordland up the coast to Buller from Friday into Saturday with another front bringing further potential for heavy rain on Sunday, so it’s recommended to keep up with the forecast if you’re going to be along the West Coast this weekend. The front will likely bring some rain to southwestern parts of the North Island this weekend before the band of rain wraps across the North Island to kick off the new working week, albeit in a weakened state.

On Tuesday, high pressure begins to build across New Zealand. This is setting the scene for a nice run of weather up to Christmas Day for many parts of the country. However, as we get closer to Christmas Day the fly in the ointment looks to arrive as a band of rain moving onto the west coast of the South Island.

“After keeping a close eye on how the forecast models have developed since they started covering the 25th the general setup of high pressure over our shores with rain in the southwest looks to be the top contender for weather situations this Christmas” says Lewis.

“But given the extended lead-time it’s not worth getting into the fine details as even the rough picture provided could change significantly. As we get into next week, we’ll have a far better idea of the likelihood of the rain band and just how far up the country it may affect.”

The bottom line: make plans to clean your outdoor furniture next week if you’re hosting Christmas lunch, those along the West Coast should probably wait a few days longer while we firm up the rain forecast.

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