Extreme fire danger risk continues in dry areas

Extreme fire danger risk continues in dry areas this week. File Photo.

Strong, warm, north to northwesterly winds once again give way to a cool southerly flow as the familiar pattern of this summer in Aotearoa New Zealand continues.

Strong Wind Warnings and Watches are in place for the eastern South Island and lower North Island today (Monday), but as the winds ease and change, the weather settles.

From Tuesday MetService is forecasting calm days ahead.

The strong winds hampered firefighting efforts over the weekend, with fires in both the Port Hills of Christchurch and the Waikari Valley in North Canterbury on Monday.

A Strong Wind Warning for up to 120 km/h gusts remains in place for the Canterbury High Country until 4pm Monday afternoon.

A Strong Wind Watch continues into the early hours of Tuesday over the Wellington Region, including the Wairarapa, as well as the Tararua District.

Although an easing of the winds is expected late Monday, fire danger conditions will remain volatile in these areas.

“The dry conditions and warm temperatures we have been seeing about eastern regions tie directly into the stronger west to northwesterly winds which have been coming and going this summer,” says MetService meteorologist Clare O’Connor.

“Regular southerly wind changes have offered respite to the temperatures, but the associated precipitation has not been enough to reverse the drying effect – so despite the winds easing, the fire danger remains a concern.”

Sharp drops in temperatures are expected on Tuesday.

Canterbury and Marlborough will peak at to peak at 27°C to 29°C on Monday afternoon but barely reach 19°C on Tuesday. Hawke’s Bay and Tairāwhiti Gisborne regions will experience a similar change, from a maximum of 31°C on Monday to 24°C on Tuesday.

While the weather conditions settle over the country on Tuesday, the northeast of the North Island looks to be the lone location to not see much sun this week.

The southerly change slows as it travels up the east of the North Island, resulting in some rain or showers at times during Tuesday and Wednesday over Hawke’s Bay, Gisborne, and the east of the Bay of Plenty.

As we reach the weekend, the northwesterly winds return; MetService’s Severe Weather Outlook indicates strong winds and warm temperatures to again impact the eastern South Island.

Settled conditions remain over the North Island, but as rainfall accumulations over the week remain low, MetService recommends keeping up to date with Fire and Emergency New Zealand’s checkitsalright.nz and your local forecasts at metservice.com.

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