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Heavy rain and gales for New Zealand

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Weather warnings and watches are in force for much of the country today.

The MetService advise that there is a severe weather watch in place as a significant weather event is expected for New Zealand, with heavy rain and severe gales for many places, and heavy snow possible in the far south.

“An active and complex low pressure system is forecast to move east across New Zealand this weekend, bringing periods of heavy rain and gales to many places,” says a MetService spokesperson.

“In the wake of this system, an unseasonably cold west to southwest flow should bring snow to low levels in western and southern parts of the South Island, possibly to near sea level in the far south.

“Finally, large west to southwest swells are expected from later on Sunday, affecting the west coasts of both islands, and the south and east coasts of central and southern New Zealand.”

The MetService advise that strong winds could make driving hazardous, especially for high sided vehicles and motorcycles.

“Snow is also expected to affect many higher roads and passes across the South Island, causing disruption to travel.

“Also, the combination of snow and strong cold southwest winds is likely to cause stress to livestock.”

People are urged to take extra precautions, especially those travelling, and to stay up to date with the latest forecasts and warnings for their area as the event unfolds.

Heavy Rain Watch

Area: The ranges of eastern Bay Of Plenty
Valid: 10 hours from 6am to 4pm Sunday
Forecast: A period of heavy rain. Rainfall accumulations may approach warning criteria.

Area: Taumarunui and Tongariro National Park, also northern Taranaki
away from the mountain
Valid: 9 hours from 1am to 11am Sunday
Forecast: A period of heavy rain. Rainfall accumulations may approach warning criteria.

Area: Nelson west of Motueka, Buller, Westland north of Otira, and
the Canterbury headwaters north of Arthurs Pass
Valid: 6 hours from 10pm Saturday to 5am Sunday
Forecast: A period of heavy rain. Rainfall accumulations may approach warning criteria.

Area: Richmond Range including the Rai Valley
Valid: 7 hours from 11pm Saturday to 7am Sunday
Forecast: A period of heavy rain. Rainfall accumulations may approach warning criteria.

Area: The headwaters of the Otago lakes and rivers
Valid: 14 hours from 7pm Saturday to 10am Sunday
Forecast: Periods of heavy rain. Rainfall accumulations may approach
warning criteria.

Area: Fiordland
Valid: 18 hours from 6pm Saturday to 1pm Sunday
Forecast: Periods of heavy rain. Rainfall accumulations may approach
warning criteria.

Heavy Snow Watch

Area: Fiordland
Valid: 40 hours from 6pm Sunday to 10am Tuesday
Forecast: Snow is expected to lower to 300 metres Sunday evening, and then to near sea level during Monday morning, continuing through Tuesday morning. This is likely to be an extended period of snowfall, but at this stage it remains uncertain whether accumulations will meet warning criteria (25cm in 24 hours), and a Watch will be maintained.

Area: Clutha, Central Otago south of Alexandra, and Southland
including Stewart Island
Valid: 33 hours from 1am Monday to 10am Tuesday
Forecast: Snow is expected to lower to 300 metres overnight Sunday then to near sea level during Monday morning and to continue through to Tuesday morning. This is likely to be an extended period of snowfall, but at this stage it remains uncertain whether accumulations will meet warning criteria (25cm in 24 hours), and a Watch will be maintained.

Strong Wind Watch:

Area: From Northland to North Taranaki, including Coromandel
Peninsula, Bay of Plenty and the central North Island high country
Valid: 13 hours from 3am to 4pm Sunday
Forecast: Northwest winds may approach severe gale in exposed places.

Area: Hawkes Bay south of Hastings and Tararua District
Valid: 17 hours from 5am to 10pm Sunday
Forecast: West to northwest winds may approach severe gale force in exposed places at times.

Area: Nelson
Valid: 5 hours from 11pm Saturday to 5am Sunday
Forecast: Northerly winds may reach severe gale at times.

Area: Christchurch, Canterbury Plains
Valid: 11 hours from 11pm Saturday to 11am Sunday
Forecast: Northwest winds may approach severe gale force in exposed places at times.

Area: Central Otago, Southern Lakes
Valid: 16 hours from 4pm Saturday to 9am Sunday
Forecast: North to northwest winds may approach severe gale force in exposed places at times.

Area: Fiordland, Southland and Stewart Island
Valid: 14 hours from 3pm Saturday to 6am Sunday
Forecast: Northerly winds may approach severe gale force in exposed places.

Area: North Otago and Dunedin
Valid: 7 hours from 1am to 9am Sunday
Forecast: North to northwest winds may approach severe gale at times.

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