MetService says two cold fronts moving up the country in the next few days will deliver heavy rain and snow and much colder temperatures.
MetService meteorologist Andy Best said the first cold front will move up the South Island today bringing heavy rain and strong winds for much of the island.
The rain has already started to make an impact on the West Coast. As much as 110mm may fall in the Buller ranges and north of Westport through until 11pm today.
This rain radar animation shows the increased rainfall about the West Coast of the South Island as a front moves north. We have Heavy Rain Watches in force for this system (https://t.co/bcFLKYmqju). For all the forecasts for your area, go to https://t.co/Yjbq0jfCz1. ^AB pic.twitter.com/827yrmuVdD— MetService (@MetService) September 23, 2019
As the front heads north, a heavy rain watch also covers Nelson west of Motueka, Mt Taranaki, the central North Island high county, the eastern ranges of Bay of Plenty and the ranges of Gisborne. Thunderstorms are possible tomorrow for the upper part of the North Island.
MetService Severe Weather Forecasters have just updated the Severe Weather Watches for Strong Winds and Heavy Rain over the country, and have added Severe Weather warnings for Heavy Rain. For the details on areas affected go to https://t.co/qHyE5zhh6X. ^AB pic.twitter.com/5cUNZ2UcF8— MetService (@MetService) September 22, 2019
Another front will move onto the South Island on Wednesday morning, bringing much colder weather in its wake, "as the freezing levels lower dramatically, bringing a distinct wintry feel to conditions over the far south of the country", Mr Best said.
Snow is expected to settle at around 400 metres over Southland, Fiordland and Otago.
"The maximum temperature in Dunedin on Wednesday is expected to be only 9C and just 8C in Invercargill. Temperatures overnight Wednesday/Thursday are expected to fall to 0C in Christchurch and Blenheim, around 2 or 3C in the northern Wellington suburbs and down to 0C at Masterton as the cold air pushes farther north," Mr Best said.
It's expected the weather will improve over much of the country by Thursday although cold southerlies will continue to affect temperatures in the South Island.