High winds, rain kick off stormy week

22:31, Aug 10 2014

It'll be a stormy week for most, with heavy rainfall down south and strong winds to sweep parts of the country.

MetService meteorologist David Miller said the unsettled weather would stick around for the next few days at least.

"The front on the West Coast is going to move eastwards, affecting the North Island today and tomorrow," he said.

"Once that passes, we've got a southwest flow, so more showers."

Heavy rain which pounded Fiordland and the Westland ranges in the South Island overnight was expected to continue through this morning, MetService said.

This would be followed by a chance of thundery showers in those areas this afternoon.

Wellington should also experience showers this morning, before the rain sets in this afternoon.

The capital would also likely be battered by northerly gale gusts up to 100kmh, with rain being joined by hail tomorrow night, MetService forecast. Fine weather would turn to strong showery southerlies on Thursday.

It looked to be a similar story in Dunedin, with showers and possible gale gusts of 90kmh today turning to sleety showers and a developing cold southwest flow tomorrow, with gales returning on Thursday, MetService said.

Invercargill could expect heavy rain and showers with hail later this afternoon.

Strong northwesterlies also had the potential to rise to gale in exposed parts of Canterbury, Marlborough and the Wairarapa.

Auckland and the Far North should escape the brunt of the bad weather with fine spells, some cloud and the chance of a shower or two.

Wednesday would bring strengthening southwesterlies and a chance of hail to Auckland, and winds would remain strong for Thursday, MetService forecast.

The New Zealand Transport Agency reported ice on the Desert Road this morning, and warned drivers to take extra care.

Strong winds on the Rimutaka Hill road north of Wellington meant extra care was required especially for drivers of high-sided vehicles and motorcycles.

Motorists travelling on roads in the deep south were urged to take extra care as snow and ice made for hazardous driving conditions in some areas.

Snow to 500 metres was forecast for the area later in the day.

The Milford Road was closed at Hollyford and Chasm because of rising avalanche risk.

Warnings were in place along State Highway 1 Gore to Balclutha and Balclutha to Milton because of winter driving conditions. 

Extra care was also urged on State Highway 8 Clarksville to Raes Junction.