Heavy rain, wind to lash the south

03:03, Jan 08 2013

Holidaymakers beware - heavy rain and gale-force winds are expected to batter the South Island tomorrow.

MetService has released a severe-weather warning for the South Island before a front approaches across the Tasman Sea tonight.

The front will bring heavy rain to Westland, Fiordland and the Otago and Canterbury headwaters.

About 350 millimetres of rain could land around Arthur's Pass tomorrow.

''This is a significant amount of rain which will make rivers and streams rise quickly and has the potential to cause slips and surface flooding,'' the warning read.

''Even in the east away from the alps, rivers may rise significantly if their headwaters are near the divide.''


Northwesterly winds will reach severe gale strength in areas of Otago, Canterbury and Marlborough.

Northerly winds are likely to gust severely in Westland and northern Fiordland.

The most severe winds are expected around inland areas of Canterbury, where gusts of 140kmh are likely.

''Winds of this strength have the potential to topple trees and power lines and damage unsecure structures,'' the warning said.

The warning comes just days after the washed-out section of the bridge spanning the Wanganui River reopened.

The bridge was closed for six days after a 40-metre section washed away on January 2 when floodwaters spilt over from the Wanganui River.

MetService said the conditions would make driving hazardous.

The Press