Wet, wild wintry weather is set to lash much of the country on Tuesday despite being just three weeks away from the start summer.
MetService has issued a severe weather watch for a "significant storm" to cross the South Island, as a low pressure system moves its way through overnight tonight bringing heavy rain for Westland, Fiordland, and in the headwaters of Canterbury and Otago.
Strong wind warnings are also in place for parts of Canterbury and the lower North Island with up to 140km/h in parts as another cold front blast parts of central New Zealand on Wednesday morning.
Snow is also expected to blanket parts of Otago and Southland overnight on Tuesday with a heavy snow watch issued for areas above 600m.
Areas on heavy rain watch overnight Tuesday:
- Bay of Plenty
- Buller and Nelson ranges
- Clutha districts
- Central Otago Lakes and Rivers
MetService warns heavy rain may cause streams and rivers to rise rapidly and surface flooding and slips are also possible.
Areas on strong wind watch overnight Tuesday:
- Hawke's Bay
- North Taranaki
- Canterbury Plains
MetService warns strong wind gusts could damage trees, powerlines and unsecured structures.
Driving may also be hazardous, especially for high-sided vehicles and motorcycles.
The warnings come after an unexpected cold blast hit the lower South Island over the weekend bringing thick snow on the Crown Range between Queenstown and Wanaka.