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Question: Was this storm really the size of Australia?
Answer: Yes - in fact, it may have even been larger. WeatherWatch.co.nz estimates the whole system covered an area about 4000kms wide.
Question: Is it true the storm had a central air pressure similar to an intense hurricane?
Answer: Yes. In fact as you can see from the map below the air pressure was 948hPa. Category 4 Hurricane Igor in the Atlantic Ocean had a central air pressure of 942hPa at the same time. But it's important to note that a polar storm is built very differently from a tropical storm.
Question: Did WeatherWatch.co.nz expect more damage from this storm?
Answer: No, in fact we were surprised at just how much damage was reported. Westerly gales are common in spring and wind speeds weren't anything out of the ordinary for a spring storm, it was the number of regions that were going to get severe weather at the same time that caught our attention.