Wild weather across the country

The wild spring weather is starting to make its presence felt in the upper North Island this morning, with a Waikato town forced to cancel its A & P Show and a tree coming down at a suburban Auckland house.

Meanwhile, there have been snow showers in parts of the South, including Dunedin and Queenstown.

And in Wellington, flooding has closed the right lane along Kent Tce approaching Basin Reserve, Waka Kotahi NZTA Wellington tweeted at 11am.

“Pass with care and expect some delays through the area.”

At Morrinsville Recreation Ground this morning, Matamata A & P Show organisers first cancelled the equestrian section, due to surface flooding, before canning the entire event.

It was to be the town’s 110th show.

“Really feel for the organisers and competitors”, wrote a poster on the New Zealand Equestrian Scene Facebook page.

In Auckland, fire crews were called to a home in Athenic Ave, Lynfield, after a tree came down just before 9.30am.

A Fire and Emergency New Zealand spokeswoman did have any details, but police said no injuries were reported.

“Wet weather across the North Island and some of the South Island in a strong, cold, unstable southwest flow”, MetService tweeted just before 10am.

“Thunderstorms are possible northwest of Taihape until evening, and down south there have been snow showers in Queenstown.”

Road snow warnings are in place for the Desert Road (SH1) until 4pm today, and the Milford Road (SH94) until 7am tomorrow.

The top of the country was earlier under a severe thunderstorm watch as a strong west-to-southwest cold front was forecast to affect central and northern areas of New Zealand today.

Northland and Auckland have been under a severe thunderstorm watch, which was due to expire at 10am this morning, and a red severe thunderstorm warning warning was briefly in place for central Northland before being lifted around 7.30am.

Lightning data showed numerous strikes over Northland before 7am.

Strong winds and thunderstorms are expected to lash the country today with a strong west-to-southwest cold front forecast to affect central and northern areas.

A strong wind watch is already in place for Northland, Auckland and the Coromandel until midnight tonight, where certain parts of Auckland could see gusts of up to 90-100kmh.

Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency issued a red alert for the Auckland Harbour Bridge until 8am today.

An amber alert has also been issued for most of the day, between 8am and 8pm, with wind gusts of 75-85km/h forecast.

A Waka Kotahi spokesperson said, under an amber alert, speeds limits may be reduced and some lanes on the bridge may close, while under a red alert, all lanes on the bridge may close.

“Motorists are urged to drive to the conditions, look out for the electronic message boards which will indicate lane closures and reduced speeds, and stay within their lane while travelling across the bridge.”

Drivers of high-sided vehicles and motorcyclists are advised to avoid the bridge and use the western ring route on State Highways 16 and 18.

For the rest of the North Island, it is going to be quite a wintry day with strong winds expected, said MetService forecaster Mmathapelo Makgabutlane.

“So it’s a very indoor day on Saturday - except for those going and watching the Black Ferns v Australia in Hamilton,” she said.

“Everywhere else it’s going to be a cold, windy and showery day all around.”

MetService has also issued heavy swell warnings for the bottom of the North Island where rough sea conditions may be seen around the coastline.

“With the southwesterly, it could be a very cold and biting wind,” Makgabutlane said.

“Check in with @WakaKotahiWgtn and @WakaKotahiCNI before heading out on roads near these coasts”, MetService tweeted just before 11.30am.

South Island residents can expect similar conditions, with those in the deepest south forecast to see the worst.

In the west, thunderstorms are possible for Buller and Westland, while Nelson may see some isolated showers. For the rest of the island, there could be some snow falls out to the east.

“There are some showery conditions expected that could bring snow falls down to about 200 metres overnight in Southland in Clutha.”

Road snowfall warnings are in place for the North Island’s Desert Rd and Milford Rd and Crown Range Rd in the South Island.

The wintry conditions are expected to ease by this evening and clearer conditions are expected for most of the country tomorrow.

“Temperatures will also start to increase on Sunday, especially in the east and towards Wellington that will start to go back into the mid teens,” said Makgabutlane.