Campers warned about wild winds

Last updated 13:14 02/01/2014

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A mixed-bag of weather is being experienced over the country, with sunny skies in the north and severe weather headed for the south.

The country is in the middle of two weather systems, which brought rain and thunderstorms yesterday and is forecast to bring strong gales and more rain over the next 24 hours, MetService said.

Conditions were currently more like spring than summer, MetService meterologist Dan Corbett said.

"It sort of feels like we're a carwash with the troughs lining up one after the other."

A front from the Tasman Sea was expected to reach the lower South Island tonight and move over the island overnight and tomorrow morning.

It would then travel across the lower half of the North Island.

Heavy rain accumulations of 180 to 220mm were expected in Westland and Fiordland, and even more in higher parts of the Alps, which could also cause rivers to rise in eastern areas.

There was a high risk of thunderstorms in these areas.

Northwesterlies were expected to rise to severe gales, with possible gusts of 140kmh in exposed parts of Canterbury High Country, the Marlborough Sounds, Manawatu and Wellington.

Corbett said the were likely to become dangerous for campers.

"If they're still there after all that we've been having they're going to need the big tent pegs to stay there during this," Corbett said.

While it would start to improve next week, it would be "a challenge to pitch a tent and enjoy it" over the next few days.

NZTA has issued warnings for Rimutaka Hill Road and Desert Road, asking motorcyclists, people towing caravans and driving high-sided vehicles to be cautious in strong winds.

In inland parts of Southland, Otago and Canterbury, there could be gusts of 120kmh.

Meanwhile the Far North looked likely to miss out on the latest front, with mostly fine weather forecast and temperatures climbing into the late 20s.

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- Stuff

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