Weather: Fierce winds to slam New Zealand, Kiwis should watch warnings

Strong winds will hit New Zealand this weekend.
Strong winds will hit New Zealand this weekend. Photo credit: Weatherwatch.

The lower South Island, Wellington, Wairarapa and Hawke's Bay south of Napier can expect a period of severe gales from Sunday, MetService says.

This wind direction will see more smoke particles from the huge bushfires in Australia reaching New Zealand, although the atmospheric set-up is less conducive than it was on New Year's Eve when skies in parts of the country turned a yellow haze.

MetService is forecasting a deep low to pass to the south of Aotearoa over the weekend which is pushing the westerly wind flow onto the country.

A front with strong northwest winds extends from the low and will move swiftly up the South Island reaching the North Island at dusk on Sunday.

Temperatures will be cool over much of the country with Dunedin expecting a high of just 14C today.

Head of weather communication Lisa Murray said they were advising people to keep up to date with the latest forecast and warnings.

"Many New Zealanders and tourists are travelling or enjoying the outdoors this month, so it is important to get the weather message to them, especially those in the far south of South Island, the South Island high country and eastern areas of both islands."

The West Coast of the South Island is likely to receive a brief heavy burst of rain.

The gale southwesterlies will continue to affect coastal areas on Monday.