After a weekend of mainly settled weather for the North Island, things are about to take an abrupt change.

A deepening subtropical low is moving southwards towards New Zealand and will bring with it some severe weather, including heavy rain and easterly gales.

At this stage the heaviest rain is expected in Gisborne and Hawke's Bay during Monday and Tuesday, and a warning is in force for these areas.

This warning also covers severe east to southeast gales for eastern Bay of Plenty.

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Severe weather watches are also in place for Northland, Auckland, Great Barrier Island, Coromandel Peninsula and Bay of Plenty including Rotorua, where there is the possibility that rainfall accumulations could meet warning criteria today and tomorrow.

This watch also covers the possibility that easterly winds may approach severe gale in exposed parts of Great Barrier Island, Coromandel Peninsula, and eastern Waikato north of Putaruru over the same period.

Additionally, Auckland may have a period of severe gales to exposed areas late this afternoon to tomorrow afternoon.

Flooding may become a real concern, especially in areas that received heavy rain and flooding last week.

On Thursday, the low should move away to the southeast, bringing more settled weather.

Today's forecast

Whangārei: Showers turning to rain afternoon, possibly heavy evening. Southeasterlies turning southwest afternoon. High 16C / Low 11C.

Auckland: Showers turning to rain afternoon, possibly heavy evening. Southeasterly, gale in exposed places gusting 90km/h from afternoon. High 14C / Low 11C.

Tauranga: High cloud then rain from afternoon, possibly heavy evening. Strong southeasterlies. High 16C / Low 12C.

Hamilton: Morning high cloud then rain at times. Gusty southeasterlies. High 14C / Low 10C.

New Plymouth: Morning high cloud then occasional rain developing. Southeasterlies strengthening. High 14C / Low 11C.

Napier: Rain setting in from morning, possibly heavy at night. Easterlies strengthening. High 15C / Low 11C.

Palmerston North: Morning high cloud then rain developing. Southeasterlies developing morning. High 15C / Low 11C.

Wellington: Scattered rain developing morning and southeasterlies becoming strong. High 13C / Low 10C.

Nelson: Fine with high cloud. Southeasterly developing morning. High 15C / Low 8C.

Christchurch: Often cloudy, with patchy light rain or drizzle. Southerlies turning easterly. High 10C / Low 5C.

Greymouth: Fine. Southeasterlies developing. High 14C / Low 7C.

Dunedin: Cloudy periods, with chance drizzle. Southerly turning northeast afternoon. High 10C / Low 6C.

Queenstown: Partly cloudy, with morning frosts. Light winds. High 8C / Low 1C.

Invercargill: Morning frosts, then fine with light winds. High 10C / Low 0C.