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WeatherWatch: 10 more weeks of windy weather?

It's may not be the news many New Zealanders are thrilled about but the possibility of 10 more weeks of windy weather does have a silver lining. Just 9 days away from the Spring Equinox and head weather analyst Philip Duncan says the spring winds have turned up bang on time. "We expect these westerly gales every year from around mid-September and they usually last throughout October then ease during November".

Mr Duncan says all of the long range models indicate winds from the westerly quarter as the predominant wind direction over the next two weeks. "These westerlies are travelling from the southern Indian Ocean, south of Australia and then come out of the Southern Ocean across the Tasman and straight into New Zealand". says while there will still be significant lulls in the winds, eastern areas should expect dry, windy and warm weather for the next few weeks while western areas will be wetter, cooler and windy also.

The westerlies can howl through central New Zealand but often it's places like Auckland, the entire eastern coastline and Southland that are most exposed.

But what about that "high risk" snow prediction made by back in Autumn and backed up in early August? "The westerlies tend to limit how far north those wintry southerlies can get. As they roar out of the Southern Ocean the strong westerly flow over New Zealand often pushes them out east of the country. But we still have a high risk for another possible snow event before October is done, but the chances of it lingering for more than 24 hours is certainly dropping as we head into spring".

Snow has today fallen to low levels around Southland - almost a year to the day since a snow storm killed half a million lambs in the region.

So what was that silver lining we mentioned earlier on? Well, the spring equinox is an exact point in time when the earth tilts to allow more sunlight over the Southern Hemisphere each day than the Northern Hemisphere.

When the equinox arrives on September 22nd the daylight hours will also be the exact same as the hours of darkness - but that will only be for a short time, as the days continue to grow by around 20mins every week at this time of the year as we head towards summer.

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