The Latest On The New Zealand Extreme Climate Event

UPDATE August 15 2011: Video: Raw Video: Rare Snow in New Zealand’s Capital


image from and labeled

As a southerly chill heads up the country, snow has fallen in many parts of the North Island including in and around Wellington.

The latest information on the extreme cold and snow for New Zealand is summarized below from the New Zealand Herald

Big chill: ‘One in 50 year event’

The news article includes the text

The bitterly cold southerly blast bringing snow to much of New Zealand, closing roads, some airports and cutting power to thousands, is close to a one in 50 year event, says MetService.

Snow has made roads impassable in many areas of both islands.

MetService head forecaster Peter Kreft told NZPA the polar blast was “of the order of a 50 year” event and warned it could last for several more days.

“It’s a once in many decades event. We are probably looking at something like – in terms of extent and severity, maybe 50 years,” he said.

The level of snow that fell in Wellington had not been seen since at least the 1970s, he said.

The front was bringing snow to parts of the country which did not usually see it and even Auckland would not be spared.

“I’d be surprised if over the next few days people didn’t see sleet [in Auckland],” he said…..

Today, Auckland will have its turn. Snow is forecast to fall and possibly settle on the tops of the Waitakere and Hunua ranges and the peaks of the Coromandel Peninsula.

WeatherWatch chief analyst Philip Duncan said the polar outbreak was unlike anything he had seen.

“I’ve been watching the weather closely for about 15 years and I’ve never seen a prediction like this.”

A large high stretching from the Antarctic to the sub-tropics had merged with three low-pressure systems to create the unusual weather.

He predicted snow to 200m above sea level in Auckland this morning.

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