Strong winds and heavy rain could join revellers in welcoming in the New Year for a chunk of the country tonight.

MetService has upgraded a severe weather watch for heavy rain in Fiordland, Westland and the headwaters of Otago and Canterbury to a severe weather warning.

A severe weather watch for strong west to north-west winds remains in place for Hawkes Bay, Wairarapa, Wellington and Canterbury.

The high winds would begin in northern Wairarapa and Central Hawkes Bay this morning, whipping up in Canterbury, Wellington and Wairarapa this afternoon and into tomorrow morning.


MetService has warned that a severe weather warning for high winds in Canterbury could be issued today.

In Fiordland, Westland and the Otago and Canterbury Headwaters heavy rain would develop during this afternoon and evening and continue for about two days.

MetService has warned that this could affect already swollen rivers and streams in the area.