South set to shiver as spring blast hits

Enjoy the spring sunshine today before a blast of cold Antarctic air brings three days of rain, icy winds and even snow to some places.

MetService meteorologist Matthew Ford said a belt of high pressure remained over the country today, keeping the weather relatively settled for most.

The North Island was in for a day of temperatures mostly in the late teens, with plenty of sunshine and just the odd shower, mostly about the ranges.

Very similar conditions were forecast in the South Island, with even Dunedin forecast to crack 18C.

But don’t get used to it, because by tonight it will all begin to change.

A significant cold front was arriving in Fiordland tonight, bringing bitterly cold strong winds, heavy rain and possible heavy snow to some parts of the country over the next few days.

“The second half of the week is really not looking too good,” Ford said.

On Wednesday the rain would spread across the whole South Island, heaviest in the west, with temperatures plummeting and bringing snow down as low as 200m in some areas.

The forecast conditions have prompted the closure this afternoon of the Milford road (State Highway 94). The NZ Transport Agency says the road will likely remain closed tomorrow.

By Thursday the system would make its way on to the North Island, bringing heavy rain to central and northern New Zealand into Friday.

A low was also forecast to develop along the front on Thursday which would track east across the North Island on Friday.

Heavy snow could fall above 400 metres about inland parts of Otago, Canterbury, Marlborough and Nelson through to Friday, while parts of Southland could get snow to 200m. 

In the North Island there was a chance of snow down to 600m about the central high country, with higher roads in this area likely to be affected including the Desert Rd.

As the front and low moved away to the east on Friday, strong, cold south to southeasterly winds were expected for many places.


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