17 September 2010

"A Storm the Size of Australia? Big one, eh?"

"One of the largest storms on the planet is churning away south of New Zealand with a central air pressure estimated to be in the 950's hPa range and covering an area the size of Australia." reports WeatherWatch.co.nz.

The storm has a very large centre but while the true middle of the system is likely to remain at least 1000kms south of the country gales, heavy rain and snow, are still going to make a direct hit on New Zealand over the next few days.

For my overseas friends who are not accustomed to the place names and conditions of these Antipodean Islands which are often referred to as The Shaky Isles, a weather report that is more extreme than usual. The fact that we live across the ditch from Australia and are the next getting off place for Antarctica influences our weather. NZ has been called many things. "A small comma on the broad expanse of the Pacific Ocean" is appropriate when you look at the magnitude of this storm.

Combined account from NZ news sources: Metservice

"New Zealanders are being advised to batten down the hatches and stay away from the beaches as a huge storm bears down on the country, a southerly change coming directly off the Antarctic shelf during Friday and Saturday.

The wild weather is expected to bring extreme conditions over the next 48 hours, including gale force winds, heavy rain and bitterly cold temperatures.

The same weather system is already causing major problems in Tasmania with thousands of homes left without power as strong winds, snow and surf batter the state.

The Australian Broadcasting Corporation reported that Tasmanians were experiencing their coldest day in decades.

"one of the largest storms on the planet"

A severe wind warning is already in force for Wellington, Wairarapa and the Marlborough Sounds and there was a possibility there could be severe gales for a time tomorrow in other areas of the North Island, Marlborough and also north Canterbury.

WeatherWatch.co.nz, said the weather was the result of one of the largest storms on the planet, the size of Australia and the centre of which was churning away about 1000km south of New Zealand.

The weather would not be as severe as a hurricane or cyclone partly because the low pressure system would be spread evenly and over a large area rather than tightly wrapped around a small centre."

Auckland will snuggle down and wait it out, praying that Christchurch is spared. After more than 660 aftershocks since the earthquake there, they don't need any more complications. Wild weather will not help in the recovery, the patching of roofs where chimneys once stood or in the soothing of frayed nerves and tempers.

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