Rain and strong winds expected across South

New Zealanders, be prepared to dust off the brollies this week as two fronts prepare to pummel most parts of the nation with rain and strong winds.

Rain is expected in most parts of the country this week but Metservice has issued specific warnings to several parts of the South Island's west coast.

Heavy rain watches and warnings are in force for Fiordland, the headwaters of Otago lakes and rivers and Westland south of Otira with thunderstorms also expected in these areas.

"This could be a significant rain event and rainfall accumulations are likely to exceed 500mm in some places over a four- or five-day period," Metservice meteorologist Kyle Lee said.

The first of two significant fronts moving over the nation will arrive midweek and bring rain to most areas, as well as snow to around 1200m for the southern South Island.

Then, towards the weekend as we approach the official start date of winter, cold southwesterlies are set to pack a punch for New Zealand as the second front arrives.

Meanwhile, the weather for the past week which followed the trend for the month of May - which has been warmer and well above average daytime temperature - is set to move on.

The above-average autumn weather has also seen the country experience less rainfall than usual for May.

"The temperature in Wellington hasn't dropped below double digits since Monday morning, and is not expected to drop below 13C this coming week," Lee said.

"Today's maximum temperatures across the country aren't expected to be below 14-15C for the main centres, well above average for most of the South Island."

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