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Heavy rain, winds and cooler temperatures will be felt in the South today before an Antarctic blast arrives on Sunday, forecasters warn.
A front begins to arrive in the lower parts of the South Island this morning, bringing a period of heavy rain. Dunedin could get as much as 14mm about 4pm, MetService said.
Rain was also forecast for Queentown, Wanaka, Alexandra, Oamaru and Invercargill today. The front will move north into Otago in the afternoon, and bring scattered rain to Canterbury by evening.
Temperatures were set to drop in the east as warm northwesterlies make way for a cold southerly.
Strong winds have been forecast today for parts of the South.
The New Zealand Transport Agency advised road users tht extra care was needed, particularly for high-sided vehicles and motorcycles, on State Highway 8 (Burkes Pass to Lindis Valley), State Highway 83 (Omarama to Pukeuri) and State Highway 87 (Kyeburn to Outram).
Dunedin goes from a high of 20degC today to 15degC tomorrow, Queenstown was expected to reach 19degC today but drop to 16degC tomorrow, Wanaka was forecast to reach 21degC but only 17degC tomorrow and Oamaru was set to have a high of 23degC today before dropping to 17degC tomorrow.
On the West Coast, heavy rain would set in through the day, reaching north Westland and Buller by evening.
A heavy-rain watch was in place for Fiordland and Westland from this afternoon into the evening, with possible thunderstorms.
Temperatures were forecast to be in the late teens there today and through the weekend.
After the front passes tomorrow, the weather would improve across the country before another cold front was expected to arrive in the South Island on Sunday, bringing single digit temperatures on Wednesday.
“This cold front will bring some strong winds and colder temperatures with snow about the higher ground, potentially lowering even further for a time on Tuesday,” MetService meteorologist Kyle Lee said.
“The blustery cold start to the week will be a bit of a change to the relatively mild autumn we’ve had so far.”
In the North Island today, the amazing start to autumn continues. Warm, dry weather and light winds are forecast over most areas, with temperatures in the low to mid 20s today and into the weekend.