Long weekend of severe wind forecast for South

Batten down the hatches for the next few days.

The MetService is predicting severe gale force winds at times across much of Otago and Southland from tomorrow until Tuesday next week.

An active front, preceded by a strong northwesterly flow, is expected to move over southern New Zealand from the Tasman Sea on Saturday.

A MetService spokesman said it was expected to bring a period of heavy rain to the west of the South Island, and on Saturday there was a high probability that rainfall accumulations would reach warning criteria in Fiordland and Westland south of Otira, especially about the ranges.

"Significant spillover into the headwaters of the Otago and Canterbury lakes and rivers is also likely."

In addition, northwest gales were expected in many places ahead of the front, while westerly gales were forecast for parts of central and southern New Zealand after the passage of the front, he said.

"On Saturday, there is moderate confidence northwest gales will become severe for a time about exposed parts of Fiordland and eastern areas from Southland to Central Hawkes Bay.

"There is moderate confidence westerly gales behind the front may become severe at times about coastal parts of Southland, Clutha and Dunedin on Saturday, Sunday, Monday and Tuesday."

Severe gales can gust to over 100kmh.

He advised residents in the areas to keep up to date with the latest MetService forecasts and warnings.

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