Wild weather for NZ west coast

New Zealand's North Island west coast is facing strong winds and thundery storms. 

This morning's Lightning accumulation as seen in the MetOceanView platform has been much higher than normal with the majority being of the cloud to ground variety.

This morning's Lightning accumulation as seen in the MetOceanView platform has been much higher than normal with the majority being of the cloud to ground variety.

With New Zealand sitting directly under a broad low pressure system, frontal features are currently lashing the west coast of the North Island. The fronts have been enhanced by two upper level jet features which have come together, with the sub-antarctic jet being pushed out of place and now sitting on top of New Zealand. 

The storms hitting the country as the result of this broad system have been squally, with wind speeds gusting to 110km/h.  Thunderstorm warnings were issued by the New Zealand Meteorological Service overnight in the Taranaki and central Plateau region.

The storms are squally because they have developed in an environment of linear convection, where updrafts and downdrafts are separated, which can enhance both features if conditions are right. 

The west coast is getting full brunt of these gusts as the ocean does not carry much air resistance so the downdraft from a storm can travel freely, unimpeded by land surface resistance.

For up-to-date New Zealand weather forecasts, see weathermap.co.nz