Orange wind warning as wild weather bears down on Canterbury

Severe weather is on the way for parts of the South Island over the weekend.

MetService has issued a raft of warnings, including heavy rain and strong winds for parts of Canterbury.

The forecaster said a frontal system was approaching the South Island from the southwest, bringing a period of heavy rain and severe northwest gales to parts of the South Island and lower North Island.

MetService meteorologist Mmathapelo Makgabutlane said the weather system "is poised to deliver a substantial amount of rain".

The Canterbury High Country will be under an Orange strong wind warning from 3pm Saturday till Sunday morning. The area is bracing for severe northwesterly gusts up to 120km/h in exposed places.

The strong wind gusts could damage trees, powerlines and unsecured structures, while driving may also be hazardous, especially for high-sided vehicles and motorcycles, MetService said.

A heavy rain watch has been issued for the headwaters of the Canterbury lakes and rivers, about and south of Arthur's Pass, from Saturday night till Sunday morning. 

There are heavy rain warnings in place for the headwaters of the Otago lakes and rivers, Fiordland, and for Westland, south of Otira.

There are also strong wind warnings in place for Otago (excluding North Otago), Southland and Fiordland.  Severe northwesterly gales could reach 120kmh in exposed places.

Makgabutlane said the rain could cause surface flooding and slips, and driving conditions could be hazardous.

The northwesterly wind would bring warm weather to the Canterbury and Otago coast with Christchurch set to hit 24 deg C.