NIWA warns downed trees, power outages and "localised structural damage" are possible as wild weather sweeps the country on Monday.
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A cold front moving across the South Island and lower North Island is forecast to bring strong wind, heavy rain and snow to low levels.
"The wind is forecast to gradually pick up on Monday afternoon, peak in the evening and overnight hours, and stay gusty throughout Tuesday morning," NIWA warns.
MetService says the strongest winds are expected about the Canterbury high country, Marlborough, Wellington, Wairarapa, and the Tararua District, where strong wind warnings are in force.
NIWA's modelling highlights the areas with greatest risk for wind gusts over 100 and 120km/h, and therefore the "greatest risk for damage".
Heavy rain is also expected in Westland, Buller and the headwaters of the Canterbury Lakes and Rivers, and snow is expected to about 700-800 metres in Canterbury and Otago and as low as 400-500 metres in Fiordland overnight.