Heavy rain, snow, avalanche warnings for South Island back country

File photo: RNZ
File photo: RNZ
Heavy rain and snow warnings have been issued for parts of the South Island and the week starts off with frosty temperatures.

Anyone heading into the back country is urged to check the conditions, with dangerous avalanche warnings in place for much of the Southern Alps.

The Avalanche Advisory has alerts in place for Arthur's Pass, Wānaka, Craigieburn Range, Ōhau, Fiordland, and Aspiring national park covering different elevations.

For Arthur's Pass, the warning is down to sub alpine terrain with more rain and snow forecast by tomorrow.

An avalanche large enough to kill, bury or injure a person was sighted at Mt Alymer in Aoraki Mt Cook National Park over the weekend.

There have been similar size avalanches on north and east facing slopes in Wānaka last week.

Alerts for heightened conditions are in place for Nelson Lakes and Two Thumbs.

MetService has also issued a severe weather watch for heavy rain about Westland, and heavy snow about the Canterbury High Country.

"Snow is forecast to fall down to 400 metres over inland parts of the South Island during Monday and Tuesday, affecting many higher roads and high country farms, while the influence of the relatively warm ocean means the snow level will be a few hundred metres higher near the coast," MetService meteorologist Peter Little said.

"Saint Arnaud was coldest on Monday morning with a low of -3.7C, while our weather station at Eastern Rangitaiki, near the western summit of the Napier-Taupō Road, dropped to -2.9C."

He said snow showers were forecast down to 400 metres over southern New Zealand on Thursday and Friday, which would once again affect some higher roads from Canterbury southwards.

Local trusted journalism matters - now more than ever

As the Covid-19 pandemic brings the world into uncharted waters, Star Media journalists and photographers continue to report local stories that matter everyday - yours.

For more than 152 years our journalists have provided Cantabrians with local news that can be trusted. It’s more important now than ever to keep Cantabrians connected.

As our advertising has fallen during the pandemic, support from you our reader is crucial.

You can help us continue to provide local news you can trust simply by becoming a supporter.

Become a Supporter