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Severe southerly storm forecast to hit South Island on Sunday, bringing snow, heavy rain and gales

A severe southerly storm is forecast to hit New Zealand on Sunday and early next week, bringing wintry conditions including heavy rain, snow and gale-force winds.

The east coast of the South Island is forecast to be hit hardest by the storm, which could linger until Wednesday, Stuff reported.

Blue Skies Weather forecaster Tony Trewinnard​ said snow could fall as low as 200 metres above sea-level in Canterbury on Monday night, which was “pretty much unheard of” for mid-November.

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Earlier, the front will move onto Westland on Saturday, bringing heavy rain, Metservice reported.

It will move north on Sunday, with cold southerlies forecast for the southeast of the South Island and a low confidence of significant heavy rain in Southland and Otago, which will extend into Canterbury and southern Marlborough over Monday and Tuesday.

There is also low confidence of severe southerly gales in Canterbury and southern Marlborough, with Metservice predicting that snow could fall to 500 metres in Southland, 600m in Otago an 800m in Canterbury.

Conditions may be hazardous for stock and high roads could be affected.

Wet weather