Coastal residents in parts of Southland, Clutha and Dunedin should tie down the trampoline and outdoor furniture as severe westerly gales of 120km/h are expected from late this evening.

The bad weather is expected to last through the night before easing tomorrow morning.

MetService forecaster Claire Flynn said a deep low would pass south of New Zealand overnight tonight bringing westerly gales to exposed parts of the South Island and lower North Island.

"We would warn people in those exposed parts to take care driving and secure any structures that may blow around."


Rain delayed the second semi-final at the women's ASB Tennis Classic in Auckland this morning but only cloud and a few light showers are expected for the rest of the day.
"It is mostly clearing with a few light showers but after that it should be mostly fine," Flynn said.

"Some people might not even see a shower."

The heavy hand of a still-strong El Nino is likely to keep messing with our weather over the coming three months, according to the latest seasonal climate outlook issued yesterday.

But the rain which fell over much of New Zealand yesterday during a fierce storm at least topped up dry soils in many regions, the National Institute of Water and Atmosphere (Niwa) reported.

From here until March, above-average temperatures were expected in the east of the North Island, while everywhere else, temperatures were equally likely to be near or above average.

Rainfall levels were most likely to be below normal for the north of the North Island, and either near normal or below normal for remaining regions of the North Island and the north and east of the South Island.

9 Jan, 2016 3:00pm
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The wild weather which lashed the country yesterday slowly moved off to the northeast late last evening. The storm forced the cancellation of ferry services in Auckland and Wellington, disrupted flights in and out of the capital, caused localised flooding and slowed traffic in many places.

State Highway 3 was closed for four hours north of the Awakino Gorge tunnel after a motorcyclist failed to take a bend and struck a truck. Despite efforts of motorists and emergency services he died at the scene.

Fire crews were called out for minor flooding in West Auckland homes and problems in the Waikato from wind damage.

A tree blown over by strong winds blocked State Highway 32 between Kinloch and Mangakino.

Last evening the front facade of the Countdown supermarket in Sunnynook on Auckland's North Shore collapsed. Tania Corrigan was in a checkout queue when the collapse happened about 6pm.

"Finally get to the queue and there was this almighty crash and the side of the building falls down," she told the Weekend Herald.

"It was a bit surreal, really - a bit worrying that someone might have got hit by debris, but it was all okay."

Nobody was injured, but the supermarket was evacuated because of fears about live electricity wires.

"Unfortunately I had to leave without the groceries," she said.

Last night, one semifinal was completed at the ASB Classic, with Germany's Julia Goerges defeating Austrian Tamira Paszek. However rain forced the overnight postponement of the second semi between the Dane, Caroline Wozniacki and the American fifth seed, Sloane Stephens.

Niwa reported that several indicators in the past two weeks had shown a weakening in the climate system, suggesting the possibility that El Nino could have reached its peak at the end of last year.

"However, the current event is expected to remain in the strong category for the next three months, and the impacts of El Nino on New Zealand's climate will likely persist into autumn."

It was possible areas from Northland to the Bay of Plenty would receive rain on Tuesday but the rest of the North Island would receive little of it.