Summer cold snap before temperatures soar

A cold snap is tipped to sweep the country this week, bringing strong winds, showers and a dusting of snow before a dramatic change sees sweltering temperatures return.

A rush of cold air moving up from the southwest on Tuesday will push temperatures down, seeing daily highs as low as 16C and 14C in Christchurch and Dunedin respectively.

While temperatures in Auckland will dip after a run of relatively warm days down to 19C on Tuesday and Wednesday, MetService has forecast snowfall about the highest peaks of Central Otago and blustery conditions along the west of both islands.

Come Thursday, though, temperatures should bounce back, with a scorching 28C high forecast for Alexandra, Hastings and Ashburton, while the City of Sails will return to a run of days above 20C.

MetService said the strong forecast winds were due to the country being sandwiched between a high-pressure system over the Tasman Sea and an area of low pressure to the south.

Tuesday would be the windiest day for most, MetService meteorologist John Law said, particularly in exposed areas in the south and west of the country.

The National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (Niwa) said windy conditions were typical with big temperature changes, dubbing the changeable weather “mother nature’s rollercoaster”.

It said there was a high chance wind gusts above 70kmh could plague Southland, Otago, inland Canterbury, parts of Wellington, and the Coromandel until Thursday.

The sudden bump in temperatures later in the week was due in part to warm, northwest winds set to flow down over the country, MetService said, with Auckland likely to hit 25C next Tuesday and Wednesday.

Further south, Dunedin could recover from its wintry lows to hit 26C on Friday. Parts of inland Otago, meanwhile, look set for a run of 25C-plus days from Thursday.

Elsewhere around the country, MetService’s forecasts were dominated by cloudy days in Northland throughout the week, fine days in the Coromandel, Bay of Plenty and Hawke’s Bay over the weekend, and rain for the first few days of next week.

MetService also said Tropical Cyclone Jasper remained active over the Coral Sea off Australia and would continue to move towards the Queensland coast.