Ferries cancelled as southerly storm bites

Ferry sailings across Cook Strait have been cancelled as rain and gales sweep across much of the country.

Snow warnings are in place for Marlborough and Canterbury, and cold southerlies could gust up to 120km/h as the cold and rainy snap continues.

Waves higher than 5m are expected in Cook Strait until early tomorrow morning.

The 9am Interislander ferry from Wellington was the last scheduled sailing and the next one will not be until tomorrow morning. Bluebridge has cancelled the afternoon and evening passenger sailings.

Marlborough, Wellington and Taranaki are in for southerly gales gusting up to 120 km/h.

Canterbury and southern Marlborough are due for snow down to 300 metres, easing gradually later in the day.

Up to 30cm of snow could accumulate above 500 metres with lesser amounts down to about 300 metres, MetService said.

Snow flurries and showers are forecast for the Napier-Taupo road, the Desert Road, Remutaka Hill Road, the Dunedin to Waitati Highway and the the South Island mountain passes.

MetService forecaster Mark Bowe said the weekend will have a wet start but the weather should slowly improve.

The cold fronts moving up the South Island and and low pressure system in the North brought plenty of wet weather across the country last night this morning.

Radar showing rain passing over the country from 3am to 8am this morning:

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