Weather: South Island in for wet and windy start to the week

The South Island is in for a wet and windy start to the week, with severe gale gusts and heavy rain set to batter the regions.

The central South Island is particularly under siege, with four severe weather warnings issued by MetService. 

Heavy rain watches are in place for both the Buller and Westland ranges - from Otira northwards - on the west coast from Monday evening through to Tuesday, while a warning has also been issued for the Westland ranges south of the township. The district can expect 160 to 230mm of rain to accumulate throughout Monday, says MetService, with peak rates reaching 25mm/h. The agency warns locals to take care while driving as the significant rainfall may cause surface flooding and slips, posing potential hazards to drivers. 

The headwaters of Canterbury and Otago's lakes and rivers will also be hit by heavy rainfall across the regions, with warnings in place for both. Between 150-230mm and 120-160mm of rain is expected to accumulate near the divide respectively. Streams and rivers may swell and rise rapidly, says MetService.

Heay rain warnings are in place for the headwaters of Otago and Canterbury's lakes and rivers.
Heay rain warnings are in place for the headwaters of Otago and Canterbury's lakes and rivers. Photo credit: MetService

A strong wind warning has been issued for Canterbury High Country, with north-westerly gales forecasted for more than 24 hours. Gusts are expected to reach a powerful 130km/h.

"Strong wind gusts could damage trees, powerlines and unsecured structures. Driving may be hazardous, especially for high-sided vehicles and motorcycles," says MetService.

Potentially severe gales may also buffet the Marlborough region, with a strong wind watch in place throughout Tuesday.

In the south, west to north-westerly winds may turn into severe gales for central Otago, Southern Lakes, Dunedin, Clutha, Southland and Stewart Island.

Umbrellas and raincoats are particularly recommended for Fiordland residents this morning, with heavy rainfall set to hammer the region after a night of wet weather. Surface flooding, slips and swelling rivers may make for hazardous driving conditions, as a further 120 to 180mm of rain is expected to accumulate on top of what has already fallen over the weekend.

The North Island isn't exempt from the wild weather, with severe gales set to batter Wellington and Wairarapa through the first half of the week. The Tararua District and the lower Hawke's Bay, south of Hastings, have also been issued a wind warning through until Wednesday morning. 

Gales gusting up to 120km/h could damage trees, powerlines and unsecured structures for the regions, says MetService.

The forecast appears mostly fine for Auckland and the upper North Island, with no warnings or watches in place for the week as of Monday morning.