Weather: 'Polar jet' to return this weekend, bringing 'May-like' conditions

  • 12/03/2024

Forecasters are warning cooler, wetter weather is on the way this weekend as a "polar jet" returns to the country. 

Weather watches are currently in force for rain and wind in Fiordland, wind in Southland, and wind in Stewart Island until Tuesday night. 

A cold front is also expected to bring more rain and showers on Friday and Saturday. 

NIWA said a "polar jet" is set to return this coming weekend as an Antarctic air mass is likely bound for New Zealand. 

"The cold spell may come with elevation snow in the South Island and May-like temperatures that linger into next week," NIWA said. 

WeatherWatch head forecaster Philip Duncan said the cold front will start in the very south of the country on Friday morning before slowly moving further up in the afternoon. 

"Further in the north, a small area of low pressure encourages a wee bit of rain… but that norwest flow continues, so eastern areas, you still look fairly dry and mild as well," Duncan said. 

On Saturday, Duncan said the cooler, wetter weather will travel up the eastern and western sides of the country. 

"There will be a bit of rain around," he said. 

MetService's extended forecast 


North Island: Showers in the east and south, clearing. A few showers in the north, mainly fine elsewhere.  

South Island: Rain in the south and west, heavy about Fiordland. Mainly fine elsewhere. 


North Island: Rain developing, heavy at times.  

South Island: Rain spreading north, easing to isolated showers in the south. 


North Island: Rain clearing and fine breaks increasing.  

South Island: Rain in the north easing to isolated showers. Mainly fine with the odd shower elsewhere, but rain developing in the south late. 

Chatham Islands 

Fine with winds dying out on Thursday. Rain and strong northwesterlies developing on Friday, turning lighter southwest on Saturday as rain eases to isolated showers.