Weather: Spring storm bringing heavy rain, severe gales and freezing temperatures next week

Kiwis are being warned a spring storm will hit next week bringing heavy rain, severe gales and temperature drops for southern parts of Aotearoa. 

In a release on Friday WeatherWatch said both islands are in for a battering but the south will bear the brunt. 

The storm will hit Fiordland on Sunday before intensifying and spreading to the West Coast on Monday. Strong northwesterly winds will also hit the area and 80-100 mm of rain is expected. 

Early next week the storm is expected to expand across New Zealand bringing 50-80 mm of rain to the east and lower North Island and the upper South Island. 

The same areas will also see severe gales and possibly damaging wind gusts of 80 to 100 km/h on Monday. 

The temperature will stay well above normal across New Zealand until Tuesday when temperatures will plunge significantly with single-digit highs across the lower South Island and single digital overnight lows across much of the country. 

The lower South Island could even see temperatures drop to near freezing in some areas and snowfall of 15 to 20 centimetres is possible in mountain areas. 

"A few lower snow flurries are possible but not likely to settle or be too heavy," WeatherWatch said.