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Autumn settling in ahead of Equinox

Waitaki App

Staff Reporter

18 March 2024, 12:47 AM

Autumn settling in ahead of EquinoxSightings of the sun will be mere glimpses early this week, as the autumn equinox approaches. Photo: Ashley Smyth

The weather has begun to feel more autumnal, with a noticeable chill felt in the early hours of the day. As we approach the autumn equinox this week, MetService is forecasting southerly winds and cooler mornings.

The week starts with a southerly flow over Aotearoa New Zealand, bringing showery weather, cloudy periods, and brisk southerly winds to the southern and eastern areas of both the North and South Islands today (Monday) and tomorrow (Tuesday).

While the remainder of the country will see some sunnier weather, they won’t escape the chill, MetService meteorologist Clare O'Connor says.

“A cloudier sky overnight is much like having a duvet on your bed – clouds overnight provide an insulating layer which keeps the heat from the day from radiating away. 

“Cloudless nights are often when the coldest temperatures are recorded, and frosts can occur.”

The autumn equinox occurs on Wednesday (March 20) this year, marking the shift to longer periods of darkness as sunrises get later and sunsets earlier.

Wednesday is also expected to be the most settled day for weather this week, with widespread blue skies and sunshine.

Later in the week, a low-pressure system from the Tasman Sea brings rain to western areas of the South Island on Thursday, reaching the North Island on Friday before quickly moving on.