UPDATED 5:52pm -- HAPPENING NOW -- A huge wildfire in Fort McMurray, Alberta, destroyed an entire neighbourhood and burned homes and businesses in several others today, and continues to rage out of control tonight.
A front sits over central New Zealand on Thursday, and while it weakens a fair amount, it only moves slowly north, and slows down even further - meaning it's here to stay.
Video just in from CBC News in Canada. "We've had a devastating day," fire Chief Darby Allen said. "Fort McMurray has been overrun by wildfire". Most of the city with 60,000 people has been evacuated - or is still being evacuated tonight.
The warmer than average Autumn continues with temperatures this week as much as several degrees above average, even more than ten degrees above average. While April kicked off with frosty weather as far north as Waikato, May has kicked off warm, even hot - and it means it's too warm for snow.
A 90-minute downpour has seen Darwin record more than twice as much rain as usual for the entire month of May.
The storm, which hit the city about 2:00pm, caused a traffic accident, phone problems, and saw heavy rain and lightning strikes.
The burst of rain came just two days after the dry season officially began, and followed an exceptionally dry wet season.
Northerly winds become gusty about eastern regions of the South Island and in the Cook Strait area from afternoon onwards - picking up during the evening and overnight, with the low risk of gales.
The same northwesterly airflow still lies over the country on Wednesday, strengthening over the South Island and lower North Island during the day.
The warm weather is sticking around through this week - as high pressure systems continue to dominate conditions for most of New Zealand.
While (potentially) record breaking May conditions continue, though, there are some interesting weather developments in some places - with rain and strong wind gusts in the pipeline for the next couple of days.
The next 3 days will see some variety in New Zealand's weather - with sustained rain in some places and strong winds in others.
Heavy rain in the northwest Nelson ranges this morning should ease by lunchtime, while spots of showers and some rain clear from Nelson, Marlborough, and parts of the eastern North Island.