Dec 08

100 000 lightning strikes in 24 hours over South Island, New Zealand

Thunderbolts and Lightning – very very frightening

New Zealand weather forecasters have been very busy over the first week of summer. MetService meteorologist Andy Best comments, “The weather pattern over Aotearoa has been more spring-like than summery, as weather systems continued to bombard our shores, bringing gale to severe gale northwesterlies, torrential rain and severe thunderstorms.”

“A ridge of high pressure north of the North Island remained in place since the start of last week. This so-called “blocking ridge” slowed systems down as they moved onto the country, allowing large accumulations of rain and preventing many of the fronts from moving up the North Island.”

On Tuesday and Wednesday, the fronts which moved over New Zealand resulted in Strong Wind Warnings and Watches being issued, extending from inland Canterbury northwards across much of the lower North Island, and gusts well over 100km/h were recorded in the Capital on Tuesday. Over the South Island, these fronts delivered heavy rain, accompanied by thunderstorms about and west of The Divide with a number of weather stations in the Alps recording 250 to 400mm in a 24hr period.

Severe Thunderstorm Warnings were issued on Saturday focusing on developments near Hokitika, as well as for an area just north of Warkworth. In the 24 hours leading up to 7am Sunday morning, 109,000 lightning strikes were recorded over New Zealand and our surrounding waters, with 18,000 specifically over the land. Previously our records had only seen 44,000 strikes over both land and sea. Thunderstorms can bring localized flooding and downpours which have caused disruptions to travel. Please check with the NZTA website to ensure roads are open.

The good news is that later today and during Monday we see a change to the weather pattern as a cold front moving up the country sees the rain over the South Island easing to showers, with the showers slowly becoming few and far between. As the cold front moves northeast across the North Island, the frontal rain eases to a mix of fine weather and isolated showers during Monday morning, although there is a chance of afternoon showers and thunderstorms popping up over inland areas. Tuesday looks like a mainly fine day, as a ridge moves over central and northern parts of the country, just isolated showers developing over Fiordland, Southland and Otago.

Nov 24


LOCATION…39.2N 32.5W

There are no coastal watches or warnings in effect.

Interests in the Azores should monitor the progress of Sebastien.

At 500 PM AST (2100 UTC), the center of Tropical Storm Sebastien was
located near latitude 39.2 North, longitude 32.5 West. Sebastien is
moving toward the east-northeast near 39 mph (63 km/h). An even
faster motion toward the northeast or east-northeast is expected
during the next day or so. On the forecast track, the center of
Sebastien will pass near the western Azores tonight.

Maximum sustained winds are near 65 mph (100 km/h) with higher
gusts. A slow decrease in the maximum winds is expected during the
next day or so. Sebastien is forecast to become post-tropical
by early Monday, and it could degenerate into a trough of low
pressure at any time during the next couple of days. Regardless of
status, Sebastien or its remnants will likely continue to produce
tropical-storm-force winds for at least a couple more days.

Tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 140 miles (220 km)
from the center.

The estimated minimum central pressure is 994 mb (29.36 inches).

WIND AND RAIN: Sebastien or its remnants are expected to bring
gusty winds and rain to the Azores through Monday morning. Please
see products issued by the Portuguese Institute for the Sea and the
Atmosphere (IPMA) for more information.

SURF: Swells generated by Sebastien are expected to affect the
Azores during the next couple of days. These swells are likely to
cause life-threatening surf and rip current conditions.

Oct 12

Typhoon Hagibis makes landfall in Shizuoka

Officials at Japan’s Meteorological Agency say Typhoon Hagibis made landfall near Izu Peninsula in Shizuoka Prefecture just before 7 p.m. Saturday.

Hagibis is classified as “strong” and is bringing heavy rain and winds to wide areas of central and eastern Japan.

Officials at Japan’s Meteorological Agency have extended an heavy rain emergency warning to the prefectures of Ibaraki, Tochigi, Niigata, Fukushima and Miyagi at 7:50 p.m.

It is the highest level on the agency’s five-tier warning scale.

The agency had already issued the same warning to Tokyo and the central and eastern prefectures of Shizuoka, Kanagawa, Saitama, Gunma, Yamanashi and Nagano earlier on Saturday.

These areas are experiencing severe rainfall that is only expected once every several decades and there is an imminent danger of landslides and flooding. People are being urged to do everything they can to protect themselves.

<Analysis at 10 UTC, 12 October>
Scale Large
Center position N34°55′ (34.9°)
E138°55′ (138.9°)
Direction and speed of movement NNE 35 km/h (20 kt)
Central pressure 955 hPa
Maximum wind speed near center 40 m/s (80 kt)
Maximum wind gust speed 60 m/s (115 kt)
≥ 50 kt wind area SE 330 km (180 NM)
NW 260 km (140 NM)
≥ 30 kt wind area E 650 km (350 NM)
W 560 km (300 NM)
<Forecast for 21 UTC, 12 October>
Center position of probability circle N38°35′ (38.6°)
E143°10′ (143.2°)
Direction and speed of movement NE 50 km/h (27 kt)
Central pressure 975 hPa
Maximum sustained wind speed 35 m/s (65 kt)
Maximum wind gust speed 50 m/s (95 kt)
Radius of probability circle 60 km (30 NM)
Storm warning area ALL 390 km (210 NM)
<Forecast for 09 UTC, 13 October>
Center position of probability circle N42°50′ (42.8°)
E152°40′ (152.7°)
Direction and speed of movement ENE 80 km/h (42 kt)
Central pressure 986 hPa
Maximum sustained wind speed 30 m/s (55 kt)
Maximum wind gust speed 40 m/s (80 kt)
Radius of probability circle 90 km (50 NM)
Storm warning area ALL 350 km (190 NM)
Oct 13


According to the European Center model forecast, Hurricane Leslie will begin to be felt in the mainland Portugal from 18:00 UTC in the region of Lisbon, traveling at a speed of about 60 km / h to the northeast, losing intensity and passing to the category of post-tropical storm.

The passage of LESLIE will be marked by strong wind and precipitation, reason why it is absolutely necessary that all the indications of the National Authority of Civil Protection are followed.

The European Center is an intergovernmental organization in which Portugal is represented by the Portuguese Institute of Sea and Atmosphere.

Oct 09


Hurricane Michael is centered as of 4 a.m. CDT over the southern Gulf of Mexico about 390 miles (630 km) south of Apalachicola. On the forecast track, the center will continue to move over the southern Gulf of Mexico this morning, then move across the eastern Gulf of Mexico later today and tonight, move inland over the Florida Panhandle or Florida Big Bend area on Wednesday, and then move northeastward across the southeastern United States Wednesday night and Thursday.

Maximum sustained winds are near 90 mph (150 km/h) with higher gusts. Strengthening is expected, and Michael is forecast to be a major hurricane at landfall in Florida. Weakening is expected after landfall as Michael moves through the southeastern United States.

A Storm Surge Warning is in effect from the Okaloosa County Line Florida to Anclote River Florida. A Storm Surge Watch is in effect from the Anclote River to Anna Maria Island Florida, including Tampa Bay, and from the Alabama/Florida border to Okaloosa/Walton County Line, Florida. A Hurricane Warning is in effect from the Alabama/Florida border to Suwannee River Florida. A Hurricane Watch is in effect from the Alabama/Florida border to the Mississippi/Alabama border. A Tropical Storm Warning is in effect from the Alabama/Florida border to the Mississippi/Alabama border; from the Suwanee River to Chassahowitzka Florida, and for the Cuban province of Pinar del Rio. A Tropical Storm Watch is in effect from Chassahowitzka to Anna Maria Island Florida, including Tampa Bay; the Mississippi/Alabama border to the Mouth of the Pearl River, and from Fernandina Beach, Florida, to South Santee River, South Carolina. Interests elsewhere across the southeastern United States should monitor the progress of Michael.

For storm information specific to your area in the United States, including possible inland watches and warnings, please monitor products issued by your local National Weather Service forecast office For storm information specific to your area outside the United States, please monitor products issued by your national meteorological service.

An intermediate advisory will be issued by NHC at 7 a.m. CDT and a complete advisory at 10 a.m. CDT –

Jul 25

Heatwave breaks with thunderstorms – Met Office

Very hot conditions will continue across central, eastern and southeastern parts of the England until the end of the week, but the heat will trigger intense thunderstorms in some areas.

The heatwave of 2018 will reach a peak for the time being on Thursday and Friday with temperatures likely to break the UK July record, and possibly the all-time UK record somewhere in southeast England. Highs of 35 °C are expected on Thursday and 37 °C on Friday.

Paul Gundersen, Chief Meteorologist at the Met Office, said: “The heatwave conditions will continue across much of England, with temperatures into the mid to high 30s Celsius in many places from the Midlands eastwards on Thursday and Friday and it’s possible that we could break the all-time UK record of 38.5° C if conditions all come together.

“If you’re looking for somewhere to escape the heat, western and northern areas will have pleasantly warm mid 20s Celsius, although across Northern Ireland and western Scotland this may be accompanied by occasionally cloudy skies.”

The highest temperature recorded so far this year is 33.3 °C at Santon Downham on 23 July. The highest temperature recorded in 2017 was 34.5° C at Heathrow on 21st June. Prior to this, the most recent heatwave prior to this was in July 2015 when temperatures peaked at 36.7 °C at Heathrow on 1 July, a temperature that is currently the July all-time maximum record. The all-time record in the UK is 38.5° C at Faversham on 10 August 2003.

The dry spell has been most prolonged in East Anglia and Southeast England. Most especially much of East Anglia and Cambridgeshire, extending through Essex into London and also around Bournemouth and Southampton.  Parts of the Midlands have also been very dry. The last day of very widespread rainfall for East Anglia and the south-east was 29 May.

The hot and sunny weather is an opportunity for many to enjoy the outdoors, especially during the school holidays.  Amanda Bond from Visit Suffolk said: “With Suffolk having seen some of the highest temperatures this week and with the sunshine set to continue, this gives visitors the perfect excuse to get outdoors and experience what the county has to offer.

“Suffolk is known for its natural beauty, 50 miles of glorious coastline and charming villages and historic towns. Now the schools are out for summer there are many ways to occupy the kids with our fun-filled family visitor attractions such as Africa Alive!, Southwold Pier, West Stow Anglo Saxon Village, RSPB Minsmere and Kentwell Hall, to name a few. Although, sometimes, in a place this rich and beautiful, just being is pleasure enough.”   For more information, visit

Hot weather often brings the risk of showers and thunderstorms and there is a chance of a few of these breaking out over East Anglia, southeast and perhaps central England on Thursday evening. It is Friday when we expect the highest chance of intense thunderstorms across eastern parts of England on Friday before the fresher, conditions finally make their way east across the UK for the weekend.

Gundersen added: “There is the chance of thunderstorms breaking out over some eastern parts of England on Thursday, but it is Friday when we see intense thunderstorms affecting many central and eastern areas.

“Whilst many places will remain dry and hot, the thunderstorms on Friday could lead to torrential downpours in places with a much as 30 mm of rainfall in an hour and 60 mm in 3 hours. Large hail and strong, gusty winds are also likely and combined could lead to difficult driving conditions as a result of spray and sudden flooding. We have issued a Met Office weather warning highlighting the areas most at risk”

A Level 3 heat-health watch warning has been issued for a large part of England, in association with Public Health England. The Heat Health Watch Service is designed to help healthcare professionals manage through periods of extreme temperature.

Hot weather, especially when prolonged, with warm nights, can have effects on people’s health and on certain infrastructure. To aid preparation and awareness before and during a prolonged hot spell, a heatwave plan has been created by Public Health England in association with the Met Office and other partners. It recommends a series of steps to reduce the risks to health from prolonged exposure to severe heat for:

  • The NHS, local authorities, social care, and other public agencies
  • Professionals working with people at risk
  • Individuals, local communities and voluntary groups

Dr Thomas Waite, Consultant in Health Protection at Public Health England, said: “Temperatures are likely be high in parts of England this week, which may leave older people, young children and those with long-term conditions, including heart and lung diseases, struggling to adapt to the heat. So keep an eye on friends and family who may be at risk.

“To beat the heat, try to keep out the sun from 11am to 3pm, walk in the shade if you can, apply sunscreen and wear a hat if you have to go out in the heat. Also try to carry water with you when travelling.”

Jun 11


Hurricane Bud has continued to strengthen this morning. Maximum sustained winds have increased to near 120 mph (195 km/h) with higher gusts -a category 3 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale. Some additional strengthening is possible today, but a slow weakening trend is expected to begin on Tuesday.

Bud is centered as of 9 a.m. MDT about 265 miles (425 km) south-southwest of Cabo Corrientes, Mexico, and about 475 miles (760 km) south-southeast of the southern tip of Baja California. On the forecast track, the core of Bud and its stronger winds are expected to remain well offshore of the southwestern coast of mainland Mexico.

A Tropical Storm Watch continues along the coast of Mexico from Manzanillo to Cabo Corrientes. Tropical storm conditions are possible within the watch area beginning this afternoon. Bud is expected to produce total rain accumulations of 3 to 6 inches, with isolated maximum amounts of 10 inches, across much of southwestern Mexico into Tuesday afternoon. These rains could cause life-threatening flash floods and mud slides.

Jun 08

Infrared NASA Imagery Shows Hurricane Aletta Strengthening

NASA’s Aqua satellite passed over Hurricane Aletta on June 7 at 4:41 p.m. EDT (2041 UTC) and saw coldest cloud top temperatures (purple) around the center of circulation and in thick feeder bands from the south and east of the storm’s center. Credits: NASA JPL/Ed Olsen

When NASA’s Aqua satellite passed over Aletta in the Eastern Pacific Ocean it had just become the first hurricane of the season. Infrared imagery showed that Aletta appeared more organized. The National Hurricane Center noted that Aletta could become a Category 4 hurricane later on June 8.

NASA’s Aqua satellite passed over Hurricane Aletta on June 7 at 4:41 p.m. EDT (2041 UTC). The Atmospheric Infrared Sounder or AIRS instrument analyzed the storm in infrared light which provides temperature information. Temperature is important when trying to understand how strong storms can be. The higher the cloud tops, the colder and the stronger they are.

AIRS saw coldest cloud top temperatures around the center of circulation and in thick feeder bands from the south and east of the storm’s center. Those cloud top temperatures were as cold as minus 63 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 53 degrees Celsius). Storms with cloud top temperatures that cold have the capability to produce heavy rainfall.

The National Hurricane Center (NHC) noted that Aletta became the first hurricane of the east pacific season on June 7 at 5 p.m. EDT.

NHC posted at 5 a.m. EDT (0900 UTC) on June 8, “the eye of Hurricane Aletta was located near latitude 15.8 north and longitude 110.7 west. That’s about 475 miles (765 km) west-southwest of Manzanillo, Mexico. Aletta is moving toward the west-northwest near 6 mph (9 kph) and a slow west-northwestward to northwestward motion is expected for the next few days.

Maximum sustained winds remain near 120 mph (195 km/h) with higher gusts.  Aletta is a category 3 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale.  The hurricane could intensify to category 4 status later today before significant weakening begins this weekend.  The estimated minimum central pressure is 957 millibars.”

Although Aletta is several hundred miles off-shore from southwestern Mexico, it’s a powerful storm and is creating dangerous coastal ocean swells. The National Hurricane Center said on June 8, “Swells generated by Aletta will begin to affect portions of the coast of west-central mainland Mexico and the west coast of Baja California Sur later today and will continue through the weekend.  These swells are likely to cause life-threatening surf and rip current conditions.

May 25



NHC has begun advisories on newly formed Subtropical Storm Alberto. It’s centered about 195 miles (315 km) southwest of the western tip of Cuba. The Government of Mexico has issued a Tropical Storm Watch for the east coast of the Yucatan Peninsula from Tulum to Cabo Catoche. The Government of Cuba has issued a Tropical Storm Watch for the western Cuban province of Pinar del Rio.Tropical storm conditions are possible within the watch area through Saturday. Maximum sustained winds are near 40 mph (65 km/h) with higher gusts. Gradual strengthening is forecast for the next 72 hours.

On the forecast track, Alberto is expected to pass near the eastern coast of the Yucatan peninsula tonight, be near the western tip of Cuba Saturday morning, emerge over the southeastern Gulf of Mexico by Saturday night, and approach the north-central Gulf Coast on Monday.

Alberto is expected to produce total rain accumulations of 10 to 15 inches with isolated totals of 25 inches across the northeastern portions of the Yucatan Peninsula and western Cuba. These rains could produce life-threatening flash floods and mudslides. Rainfall accumulations of 4 to 8 inches with maximum amounts of 12 inches are possible across the Florida Keys and southern and southwestern Florida. Heavy rain will likely begin to affect the central Gulf Coast region and the southeastern Untied States later this weekend and continue into early next week. Flooding potential will increase across this region early next week as Alberto is forecast to slow down after it moves inland.

The next complete advisory will be issued by NHC at 5 p.m. EDT. –

Apr 09

MetService issues Warnings, Watches and Outlooks for severe weather over New Zealand

A complex low about to cross central New Zealand will spare no one from the cold air it will drag up from the Southern Ocean.

“On the back of a warmer than average summer this low will guarantee a noticeable decrease in temperature for all New Zealand, if not an unusually early dump of snow,” said April Clark MetService Meteorologist.

Severe Weather Watches and Warnings associated with this front have now been issued. Wind gusts of up to 140km/h and significant snow down to 400 metres is forecast over parts of the country from late this evening. The wind and snow are likely to cause disruption on roads and damage to power lines and unsecured structures. People are encouraged to check the latest watches and warnings to see whether they are likely to be affected when making plans into tomorrow. You can find all this information here

“Southerlies strengthen over the South Island late today signalling the quick descent into the sub-Antarctic air mass,” Clark said. “This cold air paired with persistent rain developing over the mid to upper South Island tonight means snow levels are expected lower to 400 metres for inland areas of the South Island by early Tuesday morning,” she continued.

The largest snow accumulations are expected over east of the South Island (away from the coast) on Wednesday, though snow showers could penetrate as low as 300 metres south of Otago. Further north, the central North Island is forecast see snow down to 700 metres by Wednesday as the cold air forces north with the southerly change.

Thunderstorms with damaging gusts of up to 110km/h are forecast ahead of the low for many regions north of Buller from late tonight and into Tuesday. Areas under a moderate risk of severe thunderstorms are highlighted here

Behind the low, strong southerly winds will also affect several regions including Auckland which will see the strong, cold turn during Tuesday evening. “Aucklanders see a windy Tuesday, with the worst of the wind expected after dark” Clark commented.

“As the low moves away to the east on Wednesday conditions are expected to ease and skies clear in the south. This means perfect condition for sub-zero temperatures for inland areas, this could be the hardest frost for inland South Island so far this year” warned Clark.

Once this system exits to the east of the country, another weather system is signalled for the latter part of the working week, bringing further unsettled weather.

Warnings are about taking action when severe weather is imminent or is occurring. They are issued only when required.
Recommendation: ACT 

Watches are about being alert when severe weather is possible, but not sufficiently imminent or certain for a Warning to be issued. They are issued only when required.
Recommendation: BE READY 

Outlooks are about looking ahead, providing advance information on possible future Watches and/or Warnings. They are issued routinely once or twice a day.
Recommendation: PLAN