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Wild weather: Fog shrouds Auckland, torrential rain, gales, and snow for South Island

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New Zealand

Fog is once again shrouding parts of Auckland with “multiple” early morning flights out of Auckland Airport grounded and the gloomy situation is unlikely to change for hours.

For the second day running extreme fog is affecting flights in and out of the city and causing delays to all ferry services across the Waitematā Harbour.

MetService said the fog, which is intensifying in parts of Auckland, is likely to stick around the top of the country for most of the morning before clearing.

At this stage Auckland Airport says there are multiple cancellations to regional centres and nine delays since a fog restriction came into force at 4.45am.

Earlier this morning the number of cancellations had swelled to 11 before an advisory abandoned counting flights that had been grounded.

International flights and main trunk domestic routes have not been affected by the fog.

Those flying this morning were advised to check on the latest flight arrival and departure information.

Yesterday nearly 20 flights between Auckland and regional centres were grounded until the fog lifted mid-morning.

Rush hour commuters using the city’s harbour ferries to get to work have been told to once again expect delays due to extreme fog.

Traffic cameras show fog widespread across the city, especially in southern and western suburbs.

Motorists on the motorway network are being reminded to turn on headlights and keep a safe following distance this morning.

The foggy start comes as South Islanders are in line for the harshest weather in coming days with strong winds, heavy rain and low snow forecast.

Orange Heavy Rain Warnings are already in place for Westland, Fiordland, and the headwaters of the Canterbury and Otago lakes and rivers today and Saturday.

Western parts of the South Island will be wet today while better weather was expected everywhere else, said MetService forecaster Aidan Pyselman.

Saturday was expected to bring heavy rain to many parts of the country due to a weather system moving northeast over New Zealand but the North Island was not expected to cop the rain to the same extent as the south.

MetService is warning more than 200mm of rain is expected to fall in the ranges which could cause rivers that were already running high to rise further.

It is also warning significant snow melt may also contribute to rising rivers.

Strong northwesterlies prompted the issuing of a number of severe weather warnings for large parts of the South Island yesterday. These proceed a front that is forecast to sit over southern New Zealand later today.

As the weather system moves in on Saturday, the heaviest rain is expected on the western coast of the South Island while damaging gusts of 150km/h are possible for the Canterbury High Country.

Marlborough, Wellington and Wairarapa were also expected to receive high winds and further wind warnings were not out of the question, said Pyselman.

On Sunday there would be a significant cold outbreak spreading north over the country bringing bitterly cold southerly rain to the east of both Islands as well as snow to low levels for inland parts of the South Island.

“That’s where we are going to see potential rain for southern and eastern parts and some of that potential low snow for the South Island on Sunday.”

Pyselman said the snow could be quite widespread.

“It looks like [there could be snow in areas] from the bottom of [the] island right up into the Kaikoura Ranges … and anywhere in between there could be some pretty low snow, but [no areas] have been pinpointed yet.

Sunday’s chilly temperatures kick off what is expected to be the “coldest week of winter coming up for NZ so far” next week, posted Hauraki Gulf weather.

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