Mastering the weather

During the month of  August 2017, our forecast room meteorologists had some visitors. The trainee meteorologists at that time were sitting in on some shifts to get a feel for what real-time forecasting is like day to day. This was part of their training, which began in January 2017, and finished early in 2018.

Why is Wellington so windy?

Wellington is known in New Zealand, and around the world, as 'Windy Wellington' due to the frequent strong, gusty northerlies that Wellington experiences. A hardened Wellingtonian is used to the strong winds, and may even miss them when they do disappear for a few days. So, why does Wellington get such sustained strong winds? There are a number of factors which come into play that make Wellington 'the windiest city' in the world with 178 days a year gusting at or above 63 km/h.

Inversions

How often have you gone to sleep on a calm night under clear skies, only to wake up and find the whole valley is full of fog?  This makes for great photos if you live above the cloud, as shown below from January 28th 2017 in Crofton Downs, Wellington, but it’s not so nice for the people living beneath the cloud.  Often the top of the fog is a smooth, flat surface, and is due to an ‘inversion’.  In this blog post we unravel what an inversion is, and why it leads to valley fog like this.Valley fog u

What is a storm?

The word ‘storm’ is frequently misused in the media and colloquially, almost as much as the misuse of the term ‘weather bomb’*.  In the strictest meteorological sense, a ‘storm’ is only a storm if accompanied by storm-force winds, which are defined by the Beaufort scale as having an average speed of over 47 knots (88 km/h). However, there are several other types of storm which don’t require storm-force winds.