A spring storm is set to lash the country with heavy rain and gale force winds from tomorrow.

The MetService has issued severe weather warnings for the lower half of the country, as an active front is set to approach the South Island tomorrow before moving over the lower North Island on Wednesday.

The storm is forecast to bring wet weather to the west, and strong winds gusting up to 140km/h in the east.

Meteorologist John Law said the best advice was to keep a close eye on forecasts and weather warnings this week.


"It's a real smorgasbord of weather this week, with gales, heavy rain and some pretty active thunderstorms in places,'' he said.

The front would bring heavy rain to the South Island's West Coast, which would spill over the Southern Alps into the Otago and Canterbury headwaters from tomorrow and Wednesday.

Heavy rain warnings have been issued for Fiordland, Westland, Buller, Nelson Lakes, the Tasman mountains, and Canterbury and Otago lakes and headwaters.

Rainfall of up to 250mm was expected in the Westland Ranges, with intensities of 25mm an hour expected about the Southern Alps and Fiordland.

While the wettest weather was likely in the west of the country, the strongest winds were expected in eastern areas.

Severe northwest gales gusting up to 140km/h were likely in eastern areas from Otago and Canterbury up to Wairarapa. Strong gusts were also expected around Wellington, Fiordland and Southland.

Strong wind warnings are in place for Fiordland, Southland, Otago and Canterbury from late tomorrow morning until tomorrow night and Wednesday morning.

For parts of Marlborough, Wellington and Wairarapa, strong winds are expected from late tomorrow afternoon until Wednesday night and early Thursday morning.

By mid-week, the strong winds and wet weather would focus on the North Island.

A severe weather watch for heavy rain has been issued for Mt Taranaki, the Tararua Range, the central North Island high country and eastern Bay of Plenty.

MetService also warned there was a chance of very strong winds in Hawkes Bay.