Frequently asked questions about MetService


Why is the forecast for my town, city or rural region not consistent with the hourly graph underneath?

Forecasts and temperatures for days 1-5 at the top of the towns and cities page are produced by MetService meteorologists who have access to a number of forecasting tools. The forecasts in the hourly graphs are produced by a selected computer model. 

The meteorologist produced forecasts should be given precedence.

It is also possible that temperature differences may occur between the two hour time increments and therefore the high or low for the day is not shown in the graph.


Why is there no forecast for my location?

Unfortunately MetService is currently unable to provide a localised forecast for every location in New Zealand. The various forecasts provided for the public on and through other channels are made possible by funding from a variety of sources, but we do not have funding for all locations. MetService continuously explores opportunities to increase its number of forecasts.


Why can I not see the forecast on the website?

If you are experiencing some technical difficulties with viewing, please try and view this on another computer if possible to determine whether your computer is having problems. Please also try clearing your browser cache. If you are still experiencing problems, please email carefully detailing your problem.


Why are there advertisements on the MetService website?

MetService is a State Owned Enterprise expected to operate profitably as a privately-owned company, with one shareholder – the NZ Government. Our commercial success here and (as MetraWeather) overseas enables us to deliver dividends to the Government every year.

MetService’s public weather warnings and a number of our forecasts are provided through commercial contracts with the Ministry of Transport. Everything else you see on this site – and in our mobile website and apps – is paid for by advertising and other commercial revenue. This enables us to provide you with world-leading weather information, including radar imagery, weather videos and many other useful features.

Where are temperature, wind and rainfall observations recorded?

In most cases official temperatures are recorded at airports to provide the most accurate current conditions for aviation. This is the case Wellington, Timaru, Auckland, Christchurch and most of the main town and cities.

Since New Zealand is surrounded by water and a unique topography there are always variations in temperature on any given day or night.  In most cases where you do notice variations in temperature, compared to your home thermometer, then you can adjust the readings compared to what you see on

It is also worth noting that all temperatures measured by MetService are recorded on highly sensitive instruments in ideal locations (i.e. out of direct sunlight and away from heat sources) housed in Stephenson’s screens. These are also calibrated yearly in accordance with strict WMO (World Meteorological Organization) standards. You can find out more in our blog here.

Road closures and flight cancellations

Please refer to the AA website or NZTA website for the latest road closure information:

Flight cancellation details should be sought with your airline carrier.


What do I do if an advertisement is blocking a video weather forecast?

You should have the option to skip any video advertisement after 5 seconds (see bottom right corner of the video for the place to click). If the advertisement is not a video, please notify us at


Why are there Rain Radar disturbances off the Kaipara Harbour/New Plymouth when there is no rain about?

It is what we call sea clutter. The radar installation is due east of the harbour entrance and so beam sweep has a more maritime sampling (loaded with salt particles from the sea) than the beam sweeping across the land. The sensitivity of Doppler radar picks this up and creates the image you see. We use de-cluttering software to correct this but it still does occur in certain circumstances.  A good way to differentiate between clutter and actual rain echoes is to run the radar through time and note it’s movement also compare to weather maps to see if indeed there is any potential for rain in that location at that time.

I'm looking for historical weather information

Some historical weather information is available on the Past Weather section of the Towns & Cities pages and Rural pages on In addition to this, a New Zealand climate summary can be found here.

If you are looking for a historical weather chart, please check the weather page of your local or national newspaper. Your local library should have an archive of old newspaper editions available for viewing.


Who can I contact if I have a legal enquiry?

All legal enquiries, including insurance queries should be directed to


How do I read a weather map?

Please view 'How to Read Weather Maps'


What do the weather icons mean?

You can find a list of weather icons and their meanings here


Why are Tsunami warnings not issued on the website?

The Ministry of Civil Defence and Emergency Management is responsible for the communication of Tsunami warnings. 

Whilst Tsunamis are a severe event, they are not weather-related and the nature of these waves is such that there is no noticeable extreme out at sea – so there’s nothing to include in our offshore marine forecasts. The main affect is evident at the shoreline where shallower waters cause the tsunami wave to build in height.

If a Tsunami Warning is in force, it will be mentioned in our inshore marine forecasts for conditions close to the shore, with users directed to check the Civil Defence ‘Get Ready Get Thru’ website for further information. We will also display the Civil Defence Tsunami Warning banner on the home page of our website.


How can I view astronomical phenomenon?

The best place to get information concerning anything astronomical in Wellington is Space Place or the Auckland Stardom Planetarium.


What pressure should I use to set my barometer and how do I get that pressure reading?

Pressure readings can be found on the Towns and Cities pages on


How do I register for Severe Weather Warnings by email?

You can subscribe to severe weather emails here


I have found a Weather Balloon, what should I do?

It is quite safe to dispose of the weather balloon in the rubbish.

If you would like further information on Metservice’s Upper Air program in New Zealand, please contact us by emailing with the serial number from the radio sonde, and we’ll endeavour to get the history of that particular sonde for you.