November gale

We've just had some very strong winds over NZ, so I'm writing this short post to give some background to it.

First of all, check out these peak northwesterly wind speeds from the morning of Wednesday 4 November:

A fresh new look for summer - metservice.com website redesign

MetService is currently working on a brand new metservice.com – it is being overhauled from top to bottom and is due for the big launch in early December.

This follows a major review where we have considered user feedback, met with metservice.com user testing groups and had a look at best practice around the world.  The MetService website is one of the most visited in the country and dear to the hearts of Kiwis, we know, so we have made changes carefully.  It has been five years since the last redesign.  We hope you will agree that the designs are a huge improvement in many ways.

Surface tension

Water is an amazing substance. It has many properties that have a big impact on our lives and, I think, are quite useful for us to know about. One of these is the property of surface tension, which water shares with other less prevalent liquids.

The Structure of Highs

After writing two blog posts about lows or depressions, I thought it would be a good idea to also write something about highs or anticyclones. After all, one is just the opposite of the other, isn't it?? Well, in some ways yes, but there are some important differences too.

Wellington Rainbow

With a superb view over Wellington and the harbour from the MetService building in Kelburn, we're often (and quite appropriately) treated to some fantastic weather related vistas. Here's a little sample, snapped on Monday 26 October as a few light showers passed over the city in a northerly flow late afternoon.

Wellington rainbow

The Snow of '39

Ranfurly Shield Rugby in the Snow

Ranfurly Shield Rugby in the Snow. Source: The Weekly News, August 1939

The Structure of Lows - part II

In my previous blog post I pointed out that tropical lows and cyclones don't have fronts like the lows we're used to around NZ, but rather, a core of warm air near the centre. I'd like to follow up by further contrasting tropical and mid-latitude lows, and looking a bit more closely at tropical cyclones and how they can affect our weather in New Zealand.

Puysegur Point Storms

Years ago, I heard the wife of a lighthouse keeper talking on the radio about the weather at Puysegur Point, on the south coast of Fiordland, where she and her husband had been stationed for a time. Six months or so before they arrived there, a fishing boat had gone down in a storm with all hands. One day, as she walked along the black stony beach, something white caught her eye. Bending over, she picked up a single human tooth.