Front to bring wind, rain, chance of tornadoes

A weather front which could bring tornadoes to the West Coast tomorrow is expected to bring strong winds to Otago and Southland.

The MetService has put in place weather warnings across much of the South Island and says the active front is expected to move over the South Island from the west tomorrow.

After bringing heavy rain to the West Coast south of Otira, Fiordland and the headwaters of the Canterbury lakes and rivers south of Lewis Pass, the front is expected to bring strong winds to Otago and Southland and parts of Canterbury.

A strong wind watch is in place for Otago and Southland from tomorrow evening until about dawn Friday, and the MetService says northwesterlies could reach severe gale in exposed places at times.

Otago Civil Defence and Emergency Management warned people on social media to check their property for items that could blow away and put them under cover or tie them down.

A heavy rain watch is also in place for the headwaters of Otago lakes and rivers from 7pm tomorrow until 3am Friday.

There was a strong wind warning in place for Canterbury High Country.

"Strong wind gusts could damage trees, powerlines and unsecured structures. Driving may be hazardous, especially for high-sided vehicles and motorcycles."

There was a moderate risk of thunderstorms in parts of the West Coast and small tornadoes were possible and a lower risk of thunderstorms extended over western and coastal Southland, and the Otago headwaters.

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