A severe weather warning has been issued for both the North and South Islands today, with heavy rain and gale force winds due to hit this afternoon.

The slow-moving weather front will be bringing a cluster of thunderstorms across the North Island which will be spreading throughout the day and overnight, said Metservice meteorologist Daniel Corbett.

"Auckland will be in for a soggy end to the day, and a wet night," he said.

Other parts of the country are also in for heavy rain and thunderstorms, with warnings for northern and western parts of the South Island and severe gales to hit central New Zealand.


"Severe gales in Wellington and Cook Strait will slowly ease by the end of day today," Corbett predicted.

Heavy rain is expected in the Tararua Range, Mt Taranaki, Tongariro National Park and the Kaimanawa Mountains.

The ranges of eastern Bay of Plenty are also due for heavy rain later today and Thursday, where 200mm of rain is expected.

Metservice warns that streams and rivers in all of these areas could rise quickly causing surface flooding and slips.

But after this low, the country can look forward a "fairly large high", said Corbett.

"The weather system will get all its baggage out of the way in the weekend.

"Next week will be a far drier week."

- nzherald.co.nz