Matariki weather: A frozen start with a thunderstorm or two to finish

Stewart Island. A bit brisk this morning.

MetService

Stewart Island. A bit brisk this morning.

Freezing overnight temperatures are set to be a thing of the past this weekend as fronts from the west bring rain, wind and possible thunderstorms to the weather menu instead.

Aotearoa woke to another frigid morning on Friday, our first Matariki public holiday, with mārama once again shivering under -7.5C.

Wānaka was -5C, Ashburton -3C and Masterton recorded a brisk -2C.

Rakiura, also known as Stewart Island, had a cold start enough to cause a fault in its temperature gauge, which saw it plummet to a false record of -36C on the MetService’s website.

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MetService meteorologist Rob Kerr said while it had been another chilly night, there was no possibility that Stewart Island was colder than mainland Antarctica.

The icy conditions were bracing for enthusiastic Matariki stargazers, but also caused one or two problems.

Ice was thought to be behind a crash on the Christchurch-Akaroa Rd on Friday morning. A car rolled and went off the road into the water at Robinsons Bay.

One person was being assessed by an ambulance at the scene.

Rain and possibly thunderstorms are in store for the west and north of New Zealand.

MetService

Rain and possibly thunderstorms are in store for the west and north of New Zealand.

MetService issued several severe weather warnings for rain on Friday night and Saturday morning in parts of the north and west of New Zealand.

Kerr said they were at the lower level of the severe weather spectrum, but there was a concern a rain-filled northwesterly front could also bring thunderstorms to some spots, which would cause problems.

Affected are Northland, Great Barrier Island, Coromandel and Tauranga, with the watch extending overnight until 9am on Saturday.

Tasman (west of Motueka) and the Westland Ranges may also get warning levels of rain overnight.

MetService

MetService’s forecast for cloud cover on Friday morning, with some tips on how to find Matariki.

The front would bring a change in the settled frosty conditions and more were on their way for the west, including a southwesterly front that could reach as far as Wellington towards the end of the weekend, Kerr said.

“When we get these ridges of high pressures at this time of year, it gets really cold close to the ground and that air doesn’t get blown away.

“But once the wind comes that changes quite quickly.

“Hardly anywhere will be below zero to start the day tomorrow. The minuses will be positive temperatures.”

Kerr said the best places to be this weekend were eastern areas of Otago, Canterbury, Wairarapa, Hawke’s Bay and Gisborne, where clear skies would be accompanied by relatively warm temperatures on Saturday and Sunday.

Christchurch and Napier could both hit temperatures in the high teens on Saturday, he said.

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