Popular northern holiday hotspots may be hit by a tropically-fuelled deluge this weekend with forecasters warning intense downpours may lead to slips and floods.
Niwa Weather says the upper North Island and western regions of the South Island are in the path of a moisture-laden atmospheric channel which is expected to bring heavy rain across the holiday weekend.
But while some areas may experience localised flooding and slips, it's not expected to be as nearly widespread or catastrophic as last weekend's Canterbury floods.
Motorists heading away for what will be the last weekend for a while are being warned that higher traffic volumes coupled with wintry weather could make for "potentially risky" driving conditions.
MetService is forcasting the rain to start falling in the southernmost parts of the country today before moving up the island tomorrow.
By Sunday the rain will be pouring down on the top of the country and set to intensify into Monday.
"While some places might be great for galivanting around the outdoors, others will be perfect indoor weather for that show you've been waiting to binge over a long weekend," said the forecaster.
Northland, Coromandel, parts of Bay of Plenty and even Auckland were going to get "a real soaking".
"Just because the weekend starts off pretty bright unfortunately it's not going to stay that way," said forecaster Angus Hines.
"Those northern holiday spots are going to be in for a fair dumping of rain before the end of the long weekend.
"For some of those northern regions it could be a day and a half of fairly persistent rainfall. There's also the risk the winds are going to pick up and become quite strong as well."
As well as wet conditions, strong northeasterly winds were expected to buffet Northland and northeastern parts of Auckland for a time on Sunday.
Hines said they would be coming from an uncommon direction which could pose issues.
"People should just be aware if they're returning from a little holiday break there could well be travel disruptions on the roads with heavy rain and things of that nature."
NZTA said with winter now having set in and heavy rain forecast for Sunday road users were being urged to take extra care.
"Whether you're heading south to the ski slopes or north for the warmer weather, make sure you drive to the conditions. It's the last public holiday for some time so we are expecting higher traffic volumes, which when combined with wintry weather can make this holiday weekend potentially risky on the roads," said Waka Kotahi journey manager Wayne Sharplin.
Weatherwatch.co.nz said the West Coast, Nelson and Northland appeared to be prime candidates for downpours with rainfall totals possibly getting high enough to cause isolated problems.
It said the heaviest rain would be on the West Coast with up to 150mm rain falling on Sunday.
Describing the weekend forecast as "messy", Weatherwatch said as a low stalled off the north of the North Island through early next week, upper regions might experience persistent rain and gales.
Winds were expected to be strongest on Tuesday with 100km/h gusts across the Northland coast and Great Barrier Island.
However, eastern and southern regions were expected to remain mostly dry with Hawke's Bay included in some of the best places to escape the worst of the weather,