Cold, wet weather coming: Severe gales, heavy rain and chance of tornadoes forecast for parts of North Island with snow set for South Island

Parts of the North Island are in for gale force winds tomorrow as a low pressure system is set to sweep up the country bringing snow to parts of the South Island.

In a severe weather watch issued by MetService they say heavy rain is expected to affect parts of the upper South Island and central North Island this evening through to early Wednesday morning.

Gales are expected to affect the upper South Island and many parts of the North Island during Tuesday.

MetService says there's a chance of localised damaging tornadoes hitting Waikato, Waitomo, Taranaki and Horowhenua with wind gusts potentially reaching more than 110 km/h on Tuesday. 

Severe gales are also expected about northern parts of Westland and Buller, the Marlborough Sounds, Kapiti Coast and Horowhenua, Taranaki, Waikato, Auckland and the Coromandel Peninsula and a warning is in force for these areas.

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Temperatures are also expected to drop with the snow level expected to lower tonight to 300 to 400 metres in the south and central South Island and to 500 to 600 metres in the upper South Island.

MetService says the largest snow accumulations are likely about Canterbury and Kaikoura where a heavy snow warning is in place.

MetService has issued the following heavy rain watches:

Area: Eastern Bay of Plenty Ranges
Valid: 10 hours from 11:00 am to 9:00 pm Tuesday
Forecast: Period of heavy rain is expected Tuesday afternoon and evening.

Area: Taranaki, Waitomo, Taumarunui, including the headwaters of the Whanganui River
Valid: 27 hours from 10:00 pm Monday to 1:00 am Wednesday
Forecast: Outbreaks of heavy rain from tonight (Monday) through to Tuesday night, accumulations may reach warning amounts in localised areas.

Area: Canterbury Plains from Timaru northwards and Kaikoura Coast, including Christchurch and Banks Peninsula
Valid: 18 hours from 9:00 pm Monday to 3:00 pm Tuesday
Forecast: Rain is expected to become heavy and accumulations may approach warning levels of 80mm in 18 hours. On Banks Peninsula rain will turn to snow above 600 metres and heavy falls are possible.

Breakfast weatherman Matty McLean has the latest weather update. Source: Breakfast