Get out your picnic blankets and put on some sunscreen as the sun is expected to be out in full force this weekend.

It will be another scorcher for many around the country today with temperatures hitting the high 20s for most and in Canterbury the thermostat is expected to tip 30 degrees.

The toasty temperatures could signal the Kiwi summer will be off to a good start with plenty of opportunities to head to the beach during the holiday season.

Christchurch is expected to hit a red-hot 33 degrees today, before cooling off slightly with a high of 31 degrees on Saturday, and 30 on Sunday.

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Around the other main centres the weather won't be as hot, but it will still be sunny and warm for most; Auckland was forecast to hit a high of 24 degrees today and tomorrow, with minimal cloud.

Meanwhile the capital, was slightly cooler again, with temperatures in the early twenties.

Today Wellington was forecast to hit a high of 23 degrees and tomorrow would be 21 degrees with plenty of sun around.

However, it's not sunshine all around, heavy rain is likely to bring some relief for farmers on the West Coast. Other areas, however, won't be as fortunate.

Westland, from south of Hokitika, is now under a MetService severe weather warning until tomorrow afternoon and a severe weather watch for rain is in place for Fiordland.

But the North Island should enjoy a mostly dry weekend. Meteorologist Andy Best said showers are forecast from today from Mt Ruapehu to Northland, but they would be sporadic and not result in anything significant.

"For today, much of the country has generally fine conditions after the clearing of early cloud, but there will be some isolated showers north of the volcanic plateau. These showers should through the afternoon and early evening."

The East Coast will remain dry from Gisborne to Wairarapa. Wellington will also stay dry.

The South Island, between Nelson and South Canterbury, will also remain dry but showers forecast for Otago and North Otago will develop into scattered rain later today.

Clutha and Southland will also get rain.

The severe weather warning for Westland will stay in place until tomorrow afternoon.

North Islanders, north of Taranaki to East Cape around the Kapiti Coast, can expect "one or two" isolated but insignificant showers over the weekend.

The showers will hang around in the west of the North Island, between Taranaki and Northland, on Sunday before clearing in the afternoon.

In the south, the rain will ease to showers and Canterbury can also expect a few wet spells.

TODAY'S TEMPERATURES

Whangarei 24
Auckland 24
Hamilton 25
Tauranga 23
Wellington 23
Christchurch 33
Dunedin 25
Queenstown 22