Weather: Significant snow and gales expected as cold front due over New Zealand

An active cold front is expected to move onto southern New Zealand on Friday.
An active cold front is expected to move onto southern New Zealand on Friday. Photo credit: Newshub.

Significant snowfall is predicted in the South Island this weekend, bringing strong gale-force winds with it.

MetService says an "active cold front" over the Southern Ocean is expected to move onto southern New Zealand by the end of Friday.

"Expect strong northwesterlies to develop over the South Island ahead of the front, and showers in the west of the island turning into rain, with possible heavy falls in the west," MetService meteorologist Andy Best said in a statement.

"The remainder of the country on Friday can expect northwesterlies, with only a few showers in the west."

MetService says on Saturday however, a cold front will move its way north and reach Cook Strait by about midday, bringing a "band of rain", with snow lowering to between 400 and 500 metres in the east of the South Island.

The national forecaster warns the front and rain band is expected to move north on Saturday evening.

"Snow is expected to affect high level roads in Gisborne, Hawke's Bay and Wairarapa districts, including the Desert Rd," Best said.

"The southeasterlies and showers are expected to ease over the South Island during Sunday, as a ridge builds for the southern half of the island.

"For example, Ashburton and Queenstown will wake up to a frost -4C Monday morning, with widespread frosts elsewhere."

Newshub.

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