Warning as front set to drench South

MetService is predicting that parts of the South will be hit by a "significant rainfall event" and has upgraded its warning level for the Otago headwaters.

The forecaster said a series of fronts was expected to start hitting parts of the South today, followed by a more active front tomorrow.  

Saturday's front would be preceded by gale northwesterlies and heavy rain and is expected to move northeast over the South Island during the day.

A period of prolonged heavy rain was expected about Fiordland and southern Westland, and MetService today upgraded a weather watch for the Otago headwaters to a warning.

"Note, this is a significant rainfall event for Fiordland and the south Westland ranges, including the Otago headwaters."

The heavy rain for the Otago headwaters was expected to fall between 9pm today and 9am tomorrow.

Heavy rain was expected to spread east of the divide, with 100mm to 150mm about the divide, and 70mm to 100mm within 20km of the divide.

Peak intensities of 10mm to 20mm/hr were expected tomorrow morning.

A strong wind watch was also in place for Fiordland, Southland, Central Otago and the Southern Lakes from 9pm tonight to 9am tomorrow.

The expected rain has prompted the closure of the Milford road. The Milford Alliance said the road is closed today from Hollyford Rd junction to the Chasm ''due to significant avalanche conditions prevailing, with heavy warm rain to very high elevations''.

There are no weather warnings in place for the east coast of the South Island. 

Dunedin is expected to reach 15degC tomorrow and experience only occasional morning rain.

Gusty northwesterlies were forecast for Dunedin tonight and tomorrow.

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