Damaging winds and heavy rain that could cause rivers and streams to rise suddenly are expected over the South Island and the lower North Island today.
MetService forecaster Allistar Gorman said that as a front comes towards New Zealand bringing strong wind and rain, gusts up to 130 km/h were expected today.
An orange strong wind warning is in place for Wellington, Wairarapa, the Tararua District, Marlborough, including the Marlborough Sounds, and the Canterbury High Country. Gusts of up to 130 km/h are forecast for these places.
Strong wind watches are in place for Otago and Southland until 12pm on Monday, for the Canterbury High Country and the Canterbury Plains until 8pm tonight, and strong wind watches and warnings are in place for the top half of the South Island until midnight Sunday.
The rest of the South Island and lower North Island have strong wind watches in place.
MetService recorded gusts of wind measuring up to 120km/h yesterday afternoon, just after midday at the Mount Cook aerodrome.
Gusts of 115 km/h were recorded around the Remutaka summit, near Wellington, while gusts of around 110km/h were recorded in Foveaux Strait between the South Island and Stewart Island.
The town of Fairlie in the South Island saw gusts of about 100km/h.
Gorman said, as the front comes up, there will certainly be rain for the west of the South Island.
The West Coast can expect up to 200mm of rain in some areas.
Orange heavy rain warnings are currently in place for Westland, Buller, headwaters of the Canterbury lakes and rivers south of Arthur’s Pass, headwaters of the Otago lakes and rivers, Fiordland and Doubtful Sound.
Heavy rain may cause streams and rivers to rise rapidly, MetService warned. Surface flooding and slips are also possible and driving conditions may be hazardous.
The heaviest rain was expected in Westland south of Otira, where 150mm to 200mm of rain is expected to fall about the ranges, and 50mm to 70mm near the coast. These amounts are in addition to the rain that has already fallen. Peak rates of 15mm/h to 25 mm/h expected about the ranges from late Sunday morning. Thunderstorms were also possible, MetService warned.
The rain warnings all expire by 8pm todnight.
Meanwhile, road snowfall warnings have been issued for Milford Road and Crown Range Road from 6pm tonight to noon tomorrow.
A heavy swell warning has been issued for Kapiti-Porirua Coast to Cape Terawhiti from this afternoon to early Monday morning with northwest combined waves rising to 4.5 metres Sunday afternoon, then easing to 3 metres early Monday morning.