New Zealand weather: Autumn storm to bring heavy rain, strong wind, thunderstorms, possible snow

An autumn storm is on the way with heavy rain, thunderstorms and even snow set to lash New Zealand.  

The bad weather is expected to start on Sunday in the North Island with some heavy rain during the day before moving clear in the evening.   

Central, east and the upper North Island could all see rain on Sunday with the chance of heavy falls while some places could even see thunderstorms.   

In the South Island, most places could see a few showers or drizzle, with Buller and Westland expected to see the worst of it in the morning and evening with the chance of heavy rain.   

But the worst of the weather is set to lash the country on Monday, with NIWA saying heavy rain, thunderstorms and strong wind are forecast to sweep across much of the country as a cold front moves northeast.   

New Zealand's first autumn storm is due to an "active trough" of low pressure, which is moving eastwards across the country, MetService says.   

"This trough is expected to bring a period of heavy rain and strong to gale northwesterlies to western and northern parts of both islands, followed by heavy showers and thunderstorms across southern and central New Zealand in a cold west to southwest flow," MetService said.  

Looking at the big cities, Auckland should start Sunday with a few showers, which will turn to rain in the morning, possibly heavy, before easing in the afternoon. The worst weather for the City of Sails is on Monday with rain, the chance of thunderstorms, before easing to isolated showers and fine breaks in the evening, according to MetService.   

It's similar in Hamilton with the chance of thunderstorms on Sunday and Monday while Wellington and Christchurch should have mainly fine weather on Sunday before the weather turns bad on Monday with rain and strong winds expected.   

MetService said this is an "unseasonably cold outbreak" that could see snow settle to around 1000 metres over Fiordland and the ranges of Otago on Monday.   

On top of this, large southwest swells are expected over the west and south coasts of the South Island from later Monday.  

This has seen MetService issue wind and rain watches for parts of the South Island.   

A heavy rain watch is in place for the Otago Headwaters and Fiordland north of Doubtful Sound from Sunday evening through to Monday morning, with heavy rain approaching warning criteria.   

The ranges of the Westland District are also in the firing line with a rain watch in place from Monday morning through to lunchtime, with MetService warning thunderstorms and likely through to Monday afternoon and evening.   

MetService has also issued a strong wind watch for Canterbury High Country, Central Otago, including the Queenstown Lakes District, Fiordland and Southland from Mataura northwards from Sunday evening until Monday morning.  

These areas are expected to see northwest winds, which may approach severe gales in exposed areas.   

MetService short forecast for Sunday

Northland to Taranaki, including Bay of Plenty and the central high country  

Mostly cloudy with a few showers, turning to rain for a time this morning and afternoon, possibly heavy and thundery in the west.  

Gisborne and Hawke's Bay  

Mostly cloudy, with scattered rain developing this morning, then clearing to fine from the south in the afternoon.  

Whanganui to Kapiti Coast, also Wairarapa  

Becoming mainly fine this morning.  

Wellington, Nelson and Marlborough  

Mainly fine, with the odd shower this afternoon.  


Mostly cloudy with isolated showers, clearing to fine this afternoon.  

Buller and Westland  

Occasional rain or showers, possibly heavy, clearing this morning then returning in the evening.  

Otago and Southland  

Isolated showers, clearing this morning then mainly fine.  


A few showers, turning to rain with heavy falls and gale northerlies tonight.  

Chatham Islands  

Cloudy with drizzle.