Surface flooding is expected in Southland today as rivers peak following heavy rain yesterday, and more heavy rain is expected in parts of the country later today.

Environment Southland said the Mataura River remained high this morning, with some flooding expected as it moved down through the catchment.

Holidaymakers heading home after the long weekend were warned to be careful on the roads as the river reached its peak this afternoon.

Duty flood warning officer Stacey Stuart said the river was expected to peak at Pyramid near Riversdale at a height of 2.5m at 1pm, and at Gore at 8pm this evening, at a height of 3.2m.


Mrs Stuart said there was likely to be some flooding, which would cause some road closures.

The Mataura River had the highest levels, but most rivers in Southland were higher than normal and people needed to be vigilant, especially during the next couple of days.

New Zealand Transport Agency was advising caution on State Highway 90 from Waikoikoi to Tapanui and State Highway 6 from Harihari to Makarora. Roads were open but affected by some surface flooding.

Caution was also advised for the Lindis Pass, where chains were essential because of snow.

While some showers were still expected for Southland today, the heaviest falls have moved into Buller, Westland and Canterbury, MetService said.

A heavy rain warning is in place for the ranges of Westland and Buller, and the Canterbury headwaters.

MetService said a further 80mm of rain was possible for the Southern Alps and Canterbury headwaters, while a further 100mm may fall in the Westland and Buller ranges between later today and tomorrow morning.

A heavy snow warning was also in place this morning for the North Otago and South Canterbury high country.

Strong wind warnings for Canterbury and a heavy rain warning for North Otago has now been lifted.

Meanwhile, the North Island is enjoying a mostly fine end to the long weekend.

Hawke's Bay is the place to be, with sunny skies and a high of 17C for Napier.

Aucklanders heading back to the city today can expect a dry run on the roads, with some cloud and light winds.

Wellington was cloudy with a chance of drizzle and light northerlies.

The fine weather would end tomorrow though, with a low approaching the North Island bringing heavy rain and gales.