There's a whiteout on the way: Get ready for snow to reach sea level
Brace yourselves New Zealand: there's more snow coming your way, and it could reach sea level.
MetService and forecasting company Blue Skies are predicting snow fall across the country from Tuesday morning through to Thursday.
MetService meteorologist Tom Adams said the low front could hit Southland early Tuesday morning and cross the Canterbury Plains before heading further north to the Wairarapa and Hawke's Bay by Thursday.
He said it was uncertain exactly how severe the snow storm could be and when it might arrive.
He said snow was certain to reach down to 1000 metres, and there was a 60 per cent chance of snow down to about 400 metres, which would mean much of the Canterbury Plains could get settled snow.
Recent chilly weather has lowered ground temperatures, leading to a higher likelihood of snow settling, he said.
"There has been a lot of uncertainty in the models regarding this, but the level of certainty is increasing," said Adams.
"It has a chance of affecting quite a few parts of the country. If it gets down to 400 metres that would cover quite a lot of the Canterbury Plains."
The snow storm would bring strong southerly winds to much of the South Island, he said.
Blue Skies is forecasting "frequent showers with snow to near sea level at times" from Tuesday night until Thursday morning in Canterbury.
"Expect 20 to 30 centimetres of snow accumulating above 200 metres, with 30 to 50cm possible above 400m.
"A few centimetres may accumulate on the ground near sea level at times in heavy showers," a forecast said.
"Winds are expected to be fresh and gusty, strong about Banks Peninsula so wind chills will be a significant hazard, but gales do not look likely at this stage."
"Heavy frosts once the snow showers clear signals the risk of ice hazards on Thursday night and maybe also Friday next week."