Autumn has well and truly arrived as blustery winds buffet the country and heavy rain dampens the south.

It was a wild day yesterday for the middle of New Zealand as winds predicted to hit 140km/h intensified as the evening wore on.

In Wellington, busy inner-city road The Terrace was closed during morning rush hour after a pane of glass fell from a high-rise apartment, while in the South Island, a trailer overturned and a campervan rolled in high winds.

Gusty winds also created perfect conditions for mini tornadoes which were spotted in parts of the South Island.


One tornado was snapped by Sam Wanrooy at Ross around 4pm and posted to Facebook.

The image was shared around 120 times and attracted a flood of comments from others startled at the shot.

"Holy moly we had one like that at our house a couple weeks ago," one person wrote, while another wrote: "Scary scary stuff they need to stay at sea".

Gusts were expected to come in waves today, said Philip Duncan, of The north-westerlies would turn more west and the winds, expected to reach gale-force in Southland, would spread over more of the country.

The upper North Island would be mostly calm. There will still be gusts on Saturday, but the South Island winds will ease.

Later tomorrow the bottom of the country will be in a "squash zone" between weather systems and there could be hurricane-force winds in Stewart Island and coastal Southland.

A wet front moves up the North Island today, easing to showers as it heads north.

"Around about breakfast time it will be lying around the lower North Island. At the same time another rain-bearing front will be approaching the lower South Island," Mr Duncan said.

"This is really typical autumn weather, we're getting a front, then sunny weather and then another front, all in a day."

Tomorrow brings showers to the North Island's west coast and Auckland and Waikato.

Another front will hit the South Island, potentially bringing rain warnings for the island's southern regions.