Weekend weather: Rain, severe gales and thunderstorms on their way

It's a particularly wet start to the weekend for much of New Zealand, especially for those living on the western side of both islands.

A front moving up the country is bringing rain to the west and strong winds to the east today as it moves up the country from the south.


MetService is warning people to watch out for severe gales in Canterbury, Marlborough Wellington and the Wairarapa.

In the capital, the suburb of Kelburn has experienced gusts of up to 100km/h. Meanwhile, there has been heavy rainfall in the western ranges of Nelson.

As the front passes through over the weekend the winds will ease but the big wet will move its way up the west of the North Island, with heavy falls and thunderstorms likely.

Flights from Rotorua to the country's main cities were cancelled this morning as thunderstorms, heavy rain and gales begin to lash the country.

Poor weather conditions have forced flight cancellations and diversions in Rotorua.

Flights departing Rotorua Airport to Christchurch, Auckland and Wellington have been cancelled while flights due to arrive from Christchurch and Auckland have been diverted.

The winds are expected to bring a warm start to the weekend for some, pushing east coast temperatures into the early 20s but they plummet back to near single digits on Sunday.

MetService forecaster Peter Little said several warnings and watches for the wind and rain had been issued for parts of the country.

"The heaviest rain is expected about the Southern Alps, Tararua Range and Mt Taranaki, where over 150mm of rain could accumulate and a heavy rain warning has been issued for these areas," said Little.

"If you live in the north or west of the North Island it would be a good idea to have indoor plans for Saturday as the forecast is for a very wet day," said Little.

The weather would improve across the South Island tomorrow and be mostly fine. The forecast for tomorrow evening's All Blacks clash against South Africa in Christchurch was fine with light winds.

Little said the rain over the North Island would ease to isolated showers early Sunday morning, with long fine spells developing in northern and western regions.

But the South Island was in for a brief cold snap on Sunday when the mostly fine weather is replaced by cold southerly winds and scattered showers.

"People in the east of the South Island in particular will notice this cooler change, as the forecast maximum temperature of 22C for Christchurch on Friday gets chopped back to just 12C on Sunday," said Little.


Today: Cloudy at times with the odd shower and northerly winds. 19
Saturday: Rain, heavy for a time and strong northerly winds. 18
Sunday: Few showers. Fresh westerly winds. 16

Today: Cloudy, a few showers. Northwesterlies developing. 19
Saturday: Rain, heavy for a time. Brisk northerlies. 17
Sunday: Showers easing. Southwesterlies. 17

Today: Rain and low cloud. Strong northerlies. 15
Saturday: Rain, possibly heavy. Northerly gales. 15
Sunday: Showers and southerlies. 13

Today: Cloudy, early drizzle clearing. Northerlies. 21
Saturday: Mostly fine. Light winds. 18
Sunday: Few showers and cold southerlies. 13

Today: Morning rain then the odd shower. Northerly wind easing. 19
Saturday: Mainly fine, late showers and southerly change. 16
Sunday: Showers and cold southerlies. 12

- NZ Herald

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