The situation

The situation

Issued at 6:57 pm on the 22nd of May by Russell Voice


(Updated: 7:00pm Tuesday evening)

Good evening. It’s been an action packed day across Canterbury, with dramatic contrast in our weather. Areas closer to the Main Divide have recorded impressive rainfall totals of 70mm, while out east across the Canterbury Plains we’ve escaped with lighter spill over shower activity. It was colder about the Main Divide, with Arthur’s Pass recording a cool ‘high’ of  6 degrees, while Kaikoura grabbed top honours with 17.4 degrees. Snow fall to around 1100m and thunderstorms were widespread about the Main Divide through the afternoon.

This evening expect more rain about the Main Divide and Canterbury High Country & Foothills, but conditions will ease back later tonight and clear for a mostly fine start to our Wednesday. Many areas south of around Christchurch will wake to light frosts, especially about sheltered areas.

YOUR OFFICIAL DAILY ‘HIGHS’ FOR TUESDAY –  Kaikoura 17, Culverden 17, Hanmer Springs 16, Christchurch 16, Rangiora 16, Oxford 15, Timaru 14, Ashburton 14, Twizel 10, Mt Cook Village 7, Castle Hill Village 8, Arthur’s Pass Village 6.

Rainfall forecast until midnight tonight: Another 30-40mm about the Main Divide, with 1-5mm out east possible in isolation. 24 hours totals have exceeded 70mm for areas closer to the Main Divide, with Mt Cook Village & Arthur’s Pass Village both exceeding 70mm.


Light snow showers may affect the top of Porters, Arthur’s & Lewis Pass before 10pm.

This week in  nutshell ?  Complex, unsettled but nothing overly threatening for the Canterbury Plains & Coast. Just a few SW changes, with associated showers. It will be colder near the Main Divide, with significant rain and snow to fairly low levels on a frequent basis.

No harsh frosts for the Canterbury Plains & Coast in the next 7 days. Very light frosts possible tomorrow morning, especially in South Canterbury.

We do have a more direct southerly front possible on Sunday this week, which may bring a more widespread period of rain and snow for the higher hills. This isn’t a significant cold outbreak, but may bring some rain to eastern areas and snow to the eastern hills; a change on our westerly wind patterns. The current trend is more and more westerly = less moisture, so so less rain & snow.

We’re starting to see a worrying trend for local ski fields with westerly dominant systems, this trend may continue right through to middle stages of June, before more traditional cold, wet southerlies take aim. Please note, this doesn’t mean we won’t see the occasional rogue cold southerly front, with showers and light snow about the High Country. Please take care sourcing information on Social Media.

SITUATION/OVERVIEW –   This week is looking mostly fine east, bar occasional SW ‘flicks’, with brief showers. Spring like westerly patterns will dominate the Canterbury Plains Coast. Heavy rain & snow will  fall near the Main Divide from tomorrow and continue through most of the week. This disturbed colder WSW flow will  possibly continue right through to the end of the month and even into June.

We do have a more direct southerly possible on Sunday, which may bring  a more widespread period of rain and snow for the higher hill country. So higher rainfall totals for the Main Divide and snow, but drier and milder out east.


THIS EVENING & TONIGHT Extensive high cloud, with spill over rain closer to the foothills. Gusty to strong NW winds at times;  severe gales about the High Country & Main Divide.Conditions clearing overnight across the region, with light frosts possible south of Christchurch. Overnight Lows: 2-5 degrees.

WEDNESDAY: Mainly fine and sunny out east early on. Afternoon SW change, with a few scattered showers. Light snow above 1000m. Low chance of hail and thunder for areas north of Oxford. A few early showers about the Main Divide. A cooler day, but dry for most. H: 12-14 L: 1-4

THURSDAY: Mainly fine out east, with high cloud and sunny sunny. Strong to gale force NW winds across the Canterbury Plains. Rain and snow near the Main Divide, with heavy falls likely. H: 14-16 L: 2-5

FRIDAY: Mainly fine, with sunny skies and light winds. An afternoon southerly change, with more widespread scattered showers. Brief snow showers above 900m about the higher hills & ranges. H: 11-13 L: 2-4

SATURDAY: A mostly sunny day, with light winds. Showers and rain near the Main Divide. H: 12-14 L: 2-4

Source our town pages for 1-7 day forecast for 23 towns across Canterbury – no computer-generated content and specific information for each town.

The ‘Situation’ will be reviewed & updated around or before 7:00am Wednesday morning.

Weather Analyst: Russell Voice



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