It's bad news for sun seekers but great news for snow goers as the winter weather begins to settle in.

Another batch of nasty weather hits New Zealand shores from tonight with MetService forecasting heavy rain, strong winds and higher levels of snow as a front crosses the country mid-week.

The South Island will be the first to feel the frontal rain band, bringing heavy rain, thunderstorms and strong winds to the West Coast from today through to Thursday.

MetService has issued severe weather warnings for heavy rain in Fiordland, the ranges of Buller and northwest Nelson plus Mt Taranaki while damaging winds of up to 140km/h arrive in the Canterbury high country as well as across Cook Strait.


Areas hit by heavy rain could expect surface flooding and slips as streams and rivers may rise.

On Thursday the North Island is expected to feel the brunt of the bad weather with heavy falls forecast for northern and western regions.

North to northwest gales will affect southern and central New Zealand on Wednesday.

MetService meteorologist Emma Blades said: "The strongest winds are forecast for central parts of the South Island along with Wellington and the Wairarapa, where damaging severe gales are possible."

Ms Blades advised to check for updates regularly as severe weather warnings and watches have been initiated for the unbecoming weather.

Once the main rain band has eased, the flow turns westerly, bringing a heavy swell of five to eight metres to western coasts on Thursday and Friday.

The westerly flow will be cooler, and snow can be expected across the Southern Alps.

A blanket of snow is expected to cover the Southern Lakes ski fields ready for the weekend.

"We are also picking snow to fall as low as 500 metres in the far south, Otago, Westland and Buller from Thursday, although don't expect to see huge amounts at these levels," Ms Blades said.

For the central North Island, snow showers are forecast to 800m also from Thursday.

Better get the raincoats ready.