Heavy rain, winds and snow forecast

Parts of the South Island and the lower North Island were set to be battered by heavy rain on Sunday and more snow has been forecast for alpine roads.

MetService said a trough would bring heavy rain to western parts of the South Island and lower North Island.

The heaviest rain was expected in the ranges of Westland and the Tararua Ranges, where a warning was issued on Saturday night.

Rain was forecast for Fiordland from early on Sunday, for Buller throughout the day, and for the Kapiti Coast and Wellington from later in the morning.

Gusty winds were also set to hit the eastern parts of the South Island and central New Zealand, with a chance of severe gales in Stewart Island, Southland, Clutha, Dunedin, Southern Lakes, the Canterbury high country, Marlborough, Wellington and Wairarapa.

In Westland, high winds caused trees to come down on the Haast Pass Highway (State Highway 6), between Haast Pass-Makarora Rd and Marks Rd), and on the Whataroa Highway at Harihari, between Main Rd and Oneone Rd, police said.

Snow for alpine passes 

Snow on the Crown Range near Queenstown caused more than a dozen vehicles to become trapped on Saturday night.

Police used 4WDs to rescue stranded motorists, saying there were reports of two camper vans and up to 15 more vehicles affected.

At Porters Pass in Canterbury, snow was expected until Monday afternoon. MetService said  20cm to 30cm was expected to settle on the road above 800 metres and lesser amounts further down.

On Arthur's and the Lewis passes, rain was forecast to turn to snow overnight, with between 4cm and 8cm expected to settle by Monday morning.

Snow showers have also been forecast for the Lindis Pass.

The Milford Road on State Highway  94 (Hollyford Valley Road Intersection to Chasm Stream Bridge) had reopened by 3pm on Sunday after closing nearly 24 hours earlier due to snow, the New Zealand Transport Agency advised.

- ODT and NZME 

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