Weather: New Zealand to be slammed by 'two surges of severe gales', heavy rain

New Zealand is about to feel the brunt of "two surges of severe gales" along with heavy rain and snowfall which could be concerning for farmers during lambing season.

Weatherwatch is reporting the country will be hit twice this week by strong winds. Western parts of the North Island and Auckland will be slammed on Wednesday by gusts reaching up to 100km/h, the forecaster says.

Metservice has a Strong Wind Watch in place for Wellington, Wairarapa south of Greytown, and the Marlborough Sounds for between 9am and 8pm on Tuesday. There's also a watch issued for Auckland, Great Barrier Island, Coromandel Peninsula and northern Waikato for between 11am and 7pm on Wednesday. It says southwest winds "may approach severe gale in exposed places".

There's a Strong Wind Warning for the Canterbury High Country on Tuesday between 9am and 6pm. 

"Northwest gales are forecast to be severe at times, with gusts reaching 120 km/h in exposed places," Metservice says.

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

The second blast will come on Friday, with Weatherwatch saying central New Zealand will be in the firing line. 

"These winds may be stronger than Wednesday's as they get funnelled through Cook Strait area," Weatherwatch says. "Gusts on the tops of the ranges may exceed 160km/h with 130km/h gusts lower down."

Heavy rain is also expected thanks to a cold front moving over the country on Tuesday, with further "surges of wet weather" expected to arrive in the coming days. The bulk of the downfall, Weatherwatch says, will be on the West Coast. 

Metservice has a Heavy Rain Warning for Westland south of Otara between 9am and 4pm on Tuesday. 

"Periods of heavy rain, especially about the ranges," the warning says. "Expect a further 50 to 75mm of rain to accumulate on top of what has already fallen about the ranges, with 20 to 40mm near the coast. Peak rates of 10 to 20mm/h about the ranges.

"Heavy rain may cause streams and rivers to rise rapidly. Surface flooding and slips are also possible and driving conditions may be hazardous."

Weather: New Zealand to be slammed by 'two surges of severe gales', heavy rain
Photo credit: WeatherWatch.
Weather: New Zealand to be slammed by 'two surges of severe gales', heavy rain
Photo credit: WeatherWatch.

Wednesday will be "peak cold for the nation this week", Weatherwatch says, and West Coast rain will turn to heavy snow in the mountains with more than a metre "likely to accumulate on the summits over the coming five days". 

"A few snow flurries – lighter and unlikely to settle – will be expected to low levels in Southland and Otago on Wednesday."

In a tweet, Weatherwatch says the upcoming weather is "bad timing" for lambing in New Zealand "but it's to be expected". Metservice says "snowfall is expected to affect many South Island roads and passes and may cause stress to livestock".