Polar blast: Freak hail storm hammers Wellington, New Zealand

Wellingtonians were woken last night by an “intense” hail storm that hammered areas of the capital in the early hours.

The icy blast came as the vanguard of a polar blast sweeping up the country from the south.

With snow blanketing much of the south, leaving numerous highways closed and even falling to sea level in Christchurch overnight, attention is turning to the north, which is starting to feel the brunt of the polar air.

20 flights have been cancelled at Wellington Airport this morning, with an airport spokesman saying that they are regularly inspecting their runway and seawalls as heavy swell batters the coast.

The polar blast brought snow to sea level in parts of the south yesterday, as well as huge seas and gales laced with a bitterly cold -20C windchill.

An active cold front and south-to-southwesterly winds will track north across the remainder of the country, with numerous weather warnings in force.

Heavy snow was possible in Taihape, around the Tararua Range and Banks Peninsula today.

A road snowfall warning is in place for the Napier-Taupō Rd (until midday Tuesday), Desert Rd (until 5pm Tuesday) and Remutaka Hill Rd (until 4pm Tuesday) in the North Island.

Residents in Wellington shared photos of the hail, saying they had been “pummelled” by the sudden downpour.

“The #hail was the size of small marbles. I’ve never seen anything like it in the time I’ve been here,” wrote Khandallah resident Brad Markham.

Courtesy of nzherald.co.nz



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