Gales forecast for Auckland and Wellington as South Island prepares for snow

A low pressure system is moving up the country today and tomorrow - and it's likely to bring cold, gusty weather along with it.

A trampoline picked up by high winds and thrown into powerlines during a storm. Source: 1 NEWS

Heavy snow is possible in the Kaikōura Ranges, inland Canterbury and inland Otago this evening and overnight, with snow expected to settle as low as 300 metres in some places.

Road snowfall warnings are in place overnight for the Desert Road, Lewis Pass, Arthur's Pass, Porter's Pass, Lindis Pass, the Crown Range Road and Milford Road.

Up north, strong wind watches have issued for several region, with winds expected to approach severe gale-force level overnight and into tomorrow morning.

Those regions are Auckland, Northland, Coromandel, Waikato, Waitomo, coastal Hawke's Bay, Gisborne, Wellington, Wairarapa and Marlborough in the south.

There's also a moderate risk of thunderstorms in some areas, with the Kāpiti Coast, western Taranaki and the west coast of the South Island most likely to see a storm this evening or overnight.

Tomorrow, the risk of thunderstorms spread to a larger area, including Auckland, the southern part of Northland, Waikato, Taranaki and coastal Hawke's Bay.

The gales could see winds gusting up to 110km/h, MetService says, with associated hail and heavy rain.

For a full forecast for your region, see our weather section here.