- Publish Date
- Wednesday, 7 September 2016, 7:56AM
New Zealand is about to be plunged back into winter with blizzard-like conditions to hit parts of the South Island today.
The MetService is warning of snow to low levels, damaging gales, thunderstorms and monster swells to batter the country over the next 48 hours.
Much of the South Island and the bottom of the North Island will be lashed by gale-force winds of up to 120km/h today and tomorrow.
Coupled with this, a vicious cold snap is expected to bring snow to low levels and even blizzard conditions in some places.
The MetService warns the bitterly cold southerly storm would spread north from late morning bringing southerly gales to many coastal areas, and squally thunderstorms and snow in the south and east of the South Island.
Strong wind warnings have been issued for the Canterbury high country, the southern and eastern coasts of the South Island and Wellington.
Snow is expected to fall above 200m in the south and east of the South Island today and possibly as low as 100m in parts of Canterbury tomorrow. Some areas can expect to be blanketed by up to 10cm of snow.
Large seas of up to 6m were expected to hammer the South Island coastline from later today and through to Friday for the North Island.
Road snowfall warnings have been issued across New Zealand including for the Rimutaka Hill Rd, Lewis Pass, Arthurs Pass, Porters Pass, Lindis Pass, Milford Rd and the Dunedin to Waititi Highway.
The MetService is warning the severe conditions could damage insecure structures, stress to livestock and make driving hazardous.