Weather: Thunderstorms, gales, heavy swells pummel New Zealand

Severe weather watches have been issued as thunderstorms, gales and heavy swell pummel New Zealand on Monday.

"An active front moving across the North Island this morning and afternoon is expected to bring a brief period of heavy rain and thunderstorms to western parts of the North Island," MetService warns.

"A second front is expected to move northwards across the South Island today and onto the lower North Island this evening, bringing a change to strong, cold southerlies, with gales about the coast."

MetService has issued heavy rain watches for central North Island areas around Taranaki, and strong wind watches for coastal Canterbury, Marlborough, Wellington and Wairarapa from this afternoon as the front moves over the country.

"It brings a period of much colder and stronger southerly winds to southern and eastern parts of the South Island on Monday, with snow falling to 800-metres inland and gales about the east coast," says MetService meteorologist Tui McInnes.

NIWA warns that the gusts as strong as 100km/h will bring large swells to the North Island.

"Strong winds will result in big waves for both coasts of the North Island, with the west coast seeing waves first," NIWA warns.

"A second pulse of waves will impact Cook Strait and the lower east coast tonight and tomorrow morning. Waves of five-plus metres are likely in Cook Strait which equal bumpy rides!"


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