An icy southerly storm that brought spring snow to Southland is gradually moving up the country, with the North Island in its sights.

MetService meteorologist David Miller said the eye of the storm had moved north to South Canterbury, with snow in the high country forecast down to 600m overnight.

Road snow warnings were in place for Porters Pass (State Highway 73), Lindis Pass (SH8) and Crown Range Rd.

Miller said at 5.30am it was too early to see how much snow had fallen, but they had reports of 2cm in Mossburn, Southland, late last night.

Advertisement

The North Island was still relatively unaffected, but would see some potential heavy showers from the afternoon, and the odd thunderstorm about Auckland, Northland and Waikato.

Canterbury was in for a wet day as the front slowly moved north. The heaviest rain was set to fall in the Nelson ranges, and Westland north of Otira, where heavy rain watches and warnings were in place.

Brothers Logan (6), left and Toby Porteous (8) tried out their snow wheels on Wednesday on the family farm just outside Te Anau. Photo / Leeann Porteous
Brothers Logan (6), left and Toby Porteous (8) tried out their snow wheels on Wednesday on the family farm just outside Te Anau. Photo / Leeann Porteous

Another front was forecast to arrive in the South Island late tonight, bringing another dose of rain and snow to lower levels.

On Friday an active front and associated low were forecast to track east across central and northern New Zealand, preceded by strong and moist northerlies.

There was potential for heavy rain about Mt Taranaki, the Whanganui headwaters, Tongariro National Park, and eastern Bay of Plenty.

As the front and low moved east, a strong and cold south to southeasterly flow should spread across the country.

Inland Canterbury and Marlborough could see another round of snow above 300m, while inland parts of Otago, Southland and Fiordland could see heavy snow above 200m.

There was a lower chance of snow above 600m in the central North Island high country, including the ranges of Hawke's Bay about the Wairoa District on Friday and into Saturday.

Higher roads, passes and farms in these areas were likely to be affected.

From late Saturday and during Sunday, the southerly flow across the country was forecast to ease as a ridge of high pressure over the Tasman Sea slowly drifted onto the country and became slow moving.

Today's weather

Whangārei

A few showers, chance heavy from afternoon. Rain at night. Northerlies. 21C high, 11C overnight.

Auckland

​ A few showers, chance heavy from afternoon. Rain at night. Northerlies. 20C high, 12C overnight.

Hamilton

Often cloudy. A few showers from afternoon, chance heavy. Rain at night. Northerlies. 20C high, 10C overnight.

Tauranga

Cloud increasing. Showers developing afternoon, chance heavy. Northerlies strengthening. 18C high, 12C overnight.

New Plymouth A few showers, then evening rain. Northerlies strengthening. 17C high, 11C overnight.

Napier A fine start, but high cloud increasing. Northerlies. 20C high, 14C overnight.

Whanganui​ Cloudy. Occasional rain developing towards evening. Northwesterlies. 21C high, 10C overnight.

Wellington Occasional showers, then evening rain. Gusty northerlies. 16C high, 8C overnight.

Nelson Rain, possibly heavy. Northerlies. 16C high, 10C overnight.

Christchurch Rain at times. Southerlies, turning northeast for a time. 12C high, 5C overnight.

Dunedin Mostly cloudy, and chance shower or two. Southerlies, turning northeast for a time. 11C high, 5C overnight.