Winter storm

The storm which began two days ago in the far south of New Zealand is now travelling up the North Island. This is winter so a southerly storm from the South Pole is not surprising.

Yesterday the America’s Cup Victory parade was held in the streets of Christchurch, in spite of the bad weather. The organisers said they would move the ceremony to an indoor venue if the weather was too unpleasant but by early morning when a decision was made, the sun was shining through black clouds. It seemed that the weather was improving. However, a few hours later it started to snow. Then there was hail followed by sleet, then rain. The temperature was 3 degrees. Nevertheless, the parade went ahead and many people came to see these heroes.

Last night the storm brought strong winds to the Cook Strait and Wellington. The sea had 7m high waves. Cook Strait ferries were cancelled. Wellington and the lower North Island are still experiencing gale-force winds which has brought down trees and power lines. 10,000 people lost their power and some have no other heating. Now they have heavy rain and floods.

All roads in the South Island which are mountain passes, are closed. In the North Island, roads around Tongariro National Park are also closed. Kaikoura is cut off because roads north and south are closed by snow or ice.

While mountains are getting good snow for skiing, access roads are closed so nobody can get to ski fields at the moment.

Trains and planes in and out of Wellington are delayed or not operating at the moment until the weather improves.

This week is the first week of the 2-week school holidays and many people are travelling. The storm makes it more difficult for travellers.


• southerly – a wind from the south
• in spite of the bad weather – even though it was bad weather (in spite of + noun; even though + clause)
• venue – place
• sleet – icy rain
• ferries – ships that sail between the North and South Islands
• gale-force – the same strength as a gale (50 to 102km/h)
• mountain pass – a high road between two mountains
• cut off – no access, no one can enter or leave, isolated
• access road – the road which takes people up to the ski field


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