Enjoy the sun while it lasts

A cold front is on the way for the weekend

Last updated 13:10 11/10/2012
beach standard
Don Scott
SNOW'S COMING: Lisa Perry with her three sons, Kobe, 9, Coen, 6, and Nelson, 3, and their cousin Chloe, 11, enjoy the beach while the sun shines.

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Heavy rain and snow are forecast to hit the South Island, with downpours picked for the north.

A severe-weather warning was likely for the West Coast tomorrow, MetService said.

MetService forecaster John Law said the weather on Saturday in Christchurch was looking "very unsettled".

While it would not be as wet as on the West Coast, some heavy rain was expected, with strong southwesterly winds.

The weather was expected to improve on Sunday, although there would be some rain in the morning, he said.

Heavy rain was expected on the West Coast from tomorrow, while a cold front was likely to bring snow to the Canterbury high country, the Mackenzie Basin and North Otago, which was unusual for this time of year, MetService chief forecaster Peter Kreft said.

The snow and rain made for what would be an "eventful" weekend, he said.

"While the heaviest rain will be concentrated on the West Coast and in northwest parts of Nelson and Marlborough, the area from Taranaki through the central North Island high country to eastern Bay of Plenty should experience a period of strong northerlies and quite heavy rain as a couple of fronts make their way across these areas."

He said the weather pattern would be preceded by a strong north to northwest flow that would probably result in snow at about 400 metres on the eastern hills of North Otago, the Canterbury foothills and parts of southern Marlborough.

This north to northwest flow may also bring severe gales tomorrow to the central North Island high country and ranges in Gisborne and Hawke's Bay, and Wellington, North Canterbury and the Kaikoura coast could expect to be "reasonably stormy" overnight on Saturday, Kreft said.

It was too early to define what was in store on Sunday, but strong winds were expected in the North Island.

"Large sea waves are also expected to arrive on the North Island's west coast on Saturday," Kreft said.

"So if you're at a west-facing beach this weekend, be mindful of sweeping waves and rip currents."

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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