Several South Island regions will be hit by a wintry blast today brought by cold front from the Southern Ocean.

Rain, sleet and snow are expected to will be most affected by the front, expected to hit Southland this afternoon causing temperatures to plunge, said weather analyst Aaron Wilkinson.

"Snow is likely to fall to 400 metres in Fiordland, Southland and southern parts of coastal Otago from Friday night through to Saturday afternoon then clearing."

A snowfall is expected in Queenstown's ski fields and snow flurries above 700m in Canterbury as the front sets in.


Northwest gales affecting inland Otago up the east coast to Cook Strait and about the Southland coast, and frosts developing in Otago and Canterbury on tomorrow night were of some concern to fruit growers, said Mr Wilkinson.