The criteria for a severe weather warning were met, even though most areas of Northland escaped almost unscathed when Cyclone Lusi hit the region on the weekend, the MetService said.

Reacting to comments from emergency services and business leaders in Northland that the depression formed as a result of cyclone Lusi wasn't as bad as expected, forecaster Elke Louw said weather warnings had to be put in context.

"Places had close to 100mm rain and severe gales. Although it wasn't necessarily as bad as people expected, our warning criteria was met."

She said a severe weather warning in place for Northland was lifted yesterday after the depression moved toward the South Island last night.


People appeared on the streets in central Whangarei early yesterday enjoying the fine weather.

Ray Taylor and Evonne Bingley were among those enjoying ice cream at the Town Basin.

Some areas in Northland were expected to experience patchy clouds and fog this morning, but skies should clear up as the day progresses.

Some showers were expected on Thursday, but the rest of the week should be sunny and humid, Ms Louw said.

The depression was expected to cross the South Island last night, then move away to the east and weaken on Monday.

Northwest gales were likely in parts of central New Zealand as the depression moved eastwards.