Autumn is making itself known in south and central New Zealand with cold, stormy weather, and even snow flurries predicted in some places.

A deep and slow-moving area of low pressure to the east of New Zealand was bringing cold, windy and wet weather from Otago to Wairarapa, MetService said.

Severe weather warnings have been issued for southwest gales, heavy rain and thunderstorms.

Strong winds in Wellington today caused power outages, with power cut to 6500 households in Johnsonville during bad weather this afternoon. Electricity was restored just after 6pm.


The coldest weather is due tonight and tomorrow, with temperatures in the Mackenzie Country likely to fall to 0C, with snow flurries down to 900 metres in parts of Otago and Southland.

Strong southerlies will bring extra chill to the east coast of the South Island and the south of the North Island.

"The winds will be strongest about exposed coastal locations from the Otago Peninsula up to the Wairarapa coast during Tuesday and into Wednesday,'' MetService meteorologist John Law said.

"The combination of the howling winds and cold air is going to bring a noticeable wind chill.''

Rainfall was expected in southern and eastern parts of the country, but the northern areas which had very low rainfall in February were unlikely to see much of it.

The best chance of rain from Waikato to Northland was bands of showers moving across today, MetService said.

Duty forecaster Leigh Matheson said conditions would be more benign in the north, but temperatures would drop and a fresh southwesterly would make it feel colder still.

"It will feel cooler than it's been just because it's not as humid, and it's a bit breezy.''