A wintery chilly blast is about to hit New Zealand with snow, gales and heavy rain to lash parts of the country.
MetService said its latest severe weather outlook shows the potential for strong winds, heavy rain and heavy snow for many areas over the weekend as a cold southerly outbreak sweeps over Aotearoa for the start of the school holidays.
Road snowfall warnings have been issued for two of the South Island mountain passes for Friday morning, including Crown Range Road and Milford Road.
WeatherWatch said a big south-to-southwest blast from Antarctica is coming towards New Zealand this weekend.
The stormy weather around New Zealand will enhance in the days ahead, with WeatherWatch predicting it will peak this weekend and Monday with a snowy and windy set-up for some.
WeatherWatch head weather analyst Philip Duncan said low pressure to the south of New Zealand is going to deepen over the next three to five days, which will bring gale-force winds for parts of New Zealand.
Duncan said the biggest rainfall will be on the west coast of both the North and South Islands as well as the deep south of the South Island.
Snow will also lash the bottom of the South Island, with up to a metre of snow expected for the mountains around Queenstown.
Duncan said Southland will see 10-15cm, while Dunedin will also get some as well over the next six days.
The Central Plateau and the Desert Road could also see 10-15cm of snow, while Duncan warns there could be a “light dusting of snow” for Gisborne and Hawke’s Bay ranges as well as the Kaimai and Mamaku Ranges.
But the east coast of the North Island can breathe a sigh of relief after being hit by its latest weather event last week.
WeatherWatch said for those in the east, they should have a much drier weather pattern following all the recent rain.
Duncan said come Friday night, it will be colder for all of New Zealand, but the truly cold weather arrives on the weekend.
On the weekend, an Antarctic southerly will hit New Zealand, with rain and snow showers for parts of the lower South Island, snow flurries for the central North Island, and showers for mostly western areas.
Sunday is expected to be the coldest day in the South Island, Duncan said.
Come Monday, gale-force winds are expected for parts of the country with severe gales in some places including Auckland.