Severe weather warnings were issued for parts of the South
Island this afternoon, with heavy rain, gales and
thunderstorms on the way.
A second front set to hit the country later this week is also
expected to bring strong winds and wild spring weather to
some parts of the country for the long weekend.
MetService meteorologist Daniel Corbett said westerly spring
weather systems would soon replace the anticyclone that
treated most of the country to sun in the weekend.
"This week will see a return to the active spring theme, with
spells of rain, gales and even thunder in places over the
The first low front was expected to hit later today, with
severe weather watches and warnings are already in place for
heavy rain on the west coast of the South Island, Mr Corbett
Strong to severe gales of up to 120km/h would lash Southland
to inland Canterbury.
From tonight until tomorrow, Fiordland, Westland and the
Buller district could expect between 120mm to 220mm of rain
and a risk of thunderstorms.
However, apart from the Wairarapa - where a severe weather
watch for gale force winds is in place - today's front
wouldn't affect the North Island, he said.
Things would calm down by Wednesday, but a second front
arriving Thursday would bring another spell of wind and rain,
including to Auckland.
However, temperatures would be mild thanks to a general
westerly flow and afternoon highs in some eastern locations
could reach the twenties.
Labour Weekend was looking like a mixed bag, with a storm
stretching across the South Island and up to the central
North Island, WeatherWatch head analyst Philip Duncan said.
"It looks like it will be one of those long weekends with
rough weather in some parts of the country and brilliantly
sunny weather in other areas. Put another way, Labour Weekend
2013 looks set to have similar weather to previous years, one
half stormy the other half sunny," he said.
The bulk of any potentially severe weather would be in the
South Island and central New Zealand areas.
"As a rule of thumb, the further north or north east you go,
the better the weather should be at this early stage."
Warnings/watches today and tomorrow
Severe weather warnings for heavy rain in Fiordland and
Westland this afternoon, moving to Buller this evening.
Westland could expect up to 220 mm of rain overnight.
Severe weather watches for gales in Southland, Otago
Canterbury, Nelson, Marlborough and Wairarapa today and