New Zealand’s weather can be highly changeable. Check the forecast and expect weather changes.
New Zealand’s changeable weather conditions frequently catch out the unprepared. It's imperative that you check the forecast as well as any weather watches and warnings for your region. Always check the mountain and rural forecasts for the region you're going as they can be quite different than an urban forecast for a major town or city.
When you’re out you must consider what effects the weather will have on your trip, one of the best ways to do this is to keep an eye on what’s going on around you. If the weather does change for the worse, you need to decide if it’s significant enough to alter your plans.
Plan for your next adventure with MetService weather forecasts.
Heading to the tops? Get the forecast with New Zealand Avalanche Advisory (NZAA).
The wind that you experience is affected by the landforms around you. It may be quite different from the general wind flow associated with the pressure system. You can get some idea of the strength and direction of the general wind flow by observing cloud movement.
Movement of the highest cloud is often difficult to see. Wispy, cirrus clouds, which look like mares’ tails or streamers, indicate strong, high-level winds and are often the first sign of bad weather.
Northerly winds at high levels are usually a sign of bad weather. If a southerly front with associated bad weather has passed through, southerlies with cumulus clouds (fluffy, isolated shapes in a blue sky) indicate a settled period in which you might find a suitable weather window to 'get outdoors' within.
The gradual thickening and lowering of the cloud base is an ominous sign. The sun or moon becomes dim or watery as it gradually becomes obscured by the thickening cloud.
‘Hogsbacks’ (smooth, lens-shaped clouds) which form over mountain tops or immediately lee of the tops, are associated with strong winds at that level. As bad weather approaches, they usually become bigger.
This would suggest that you probably need to revise your plans for the next day.