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Polar blast to continues to affect New Zealand till Thursday

(Xinhua)

13:42, August 16, 2011

WELLINGTON, Aug. 16 (Xinhua) -- After bringing the first snow in memory to cities across New Zealand, a strong polar blast is still sweeping the country and is likely to remain till Thursday, meteorologists warned Tuesday.

WeatherWatch.co.nz said snow clouds were again building up around the country's largest city of Auckland Tuesday, indicating more possible snow later in the day.

Monday's snowfall in central Auckland was believed to be the first in 80 years, although it did not settle on the ground.

WeatherWatch head weather analyst Philip Duncan said it had been a tough job forecasting for Auckland over the past few days.

"This is new territory for us -- for most forecast providers really -- with snow in the forecast for parts of Auckland. We can' t rely on what happened last time because no forecasters were alive and working then," he told the New Zealand Herald.

Meanwhile, heavy snow in parts of the Canterbury region in the South Island has caused snow drifts of up to a meter high, with many people reporting 20 to 40 cms of snow.

Residents of the quake-battered city of Christchurch were feeling the cold as it enveloped their damaged homes.

More snow clouds had been observed looming over Christchurch and it was likely another burst of heavy snow would move in.

MetService forecasters said the strong, bitterly cold southerly flow affecting the country would slowly ease Thursday and Friday, as a ridge approaches from the Tasman Sea and moves over southern New Zealand.

They warned that even with the end of Antarctic weather in sight, disruption was still likely in the coming days and people are urged to monitor forecasts and warnings.

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