Temperatures around most of the country are going to remain high today and tomorrow, with cities on the east coasts of both islands reaching above 30C before rain hits parts of the country over the weekend.

MetService meteorologist Lisa Murray said areas in the North and upper South Islands such as Blenheim, Christchurch and Napier could expect temperatures in the early 30s over the next few days.

A band of high pressure above the North Island combined with a mass of warm air will result in high temperatures, particularly in the east.

"Eastern areas [in the North Island] are cloud free, so we have a situation where temperatures can really get up there."


However, she said a few fronts coming from the southwest meant a heavy rain warning was in place for western areas south of the glaciers in the South Island.

People in the North Island should make the most of the dry weather while it lasted, as rain was forecast for more parts of the country over the weekend.

"There's a change this weekend, it looks like areas, especially north of Taranaki, this weekend are going to get rain with a few scattered showers elsewhere.

"Not so much in eastern areas but they could get some scattered rain there too."

The west coast of the South Island would also be wet this weekend but the heavy rain will ease and the warning will end by tomorrow morning.

Meanwhile, Cyclone Winston is no longer "severe" after being downgraded for the third time in as many days to a Category 2 cyclone overnight and is likely to lose its tropical cyclone status by the end of the week.

The cyclone devastated parts of Fiji earlier this week, claiming at least 29 lives.

Winston is out at sea to the direct north of New Zealand travelling south at about 15km/h, said WeatherWatch.

Tomorrow and Friday the cyclone is forecast to swing southwest and out into the north Tasman Sea, placing Norfolk Island in its path.

The small island, home to just more than 2000 people, may see the centre of Winston pass closely by on Thursday night or Friday as a Category 1 cyclone.

WeatherWatch says whether Winston will hit New Zealand is "the million dollar question" that still can't be answered with certainty.

"At this stage we do not expect New Zealand to be hit by a tropical cyclone, with Winston weakening significantly this week. But the remnants may still produce severe weather -- and in particular, heavy tropical rain."

There was uncertainty about the path Winston would take, with the two main models used by WeatherWatch to predict cyclone paths in disagreement.

The US model is predicting the cyclone will create new rain bands over the upper North Island this weekend before unravelling early next week, while the European model predicted it would float over to Australia.

High pressure over the North Island and central New Zealand was causing the confusion in predictions, WeatherWatch said.

"Cyclones and tropical lows avoid highs -- in facts highs can tear them apart. So this low is meandering around the northern fringes of this belt of high pressure, looking for the path of least resistance.

"For Winston to hit New Zealand as a tropical low we need a gap in that high air pressure -- and this is what the models appear to be conflicted on -- just how big and strong the high will be over New Zealand, and how that might guide or affect Winston's remnants."

WeatherWatch said at least for now, no tropical storm is directly coming to New Zealand -- but the remnants of Winston would absolutely be something to watch until the low has finally moved away, which could be another week at the latest.

Main centres outlook

North Island


Today: Fine with easterly breezes. H 25C.

Tomorrow: Mainly fine. Easterlies. H 26C.


Today: Fine with light winds and afternoon sea breezes. H 26C.

Tomorrow: Mainly fine. Light winds and sea breezes. H 26C.


Today: Some morning cloud, otherwise fine. Light winds. H 26C.

Tomorrow: Fine, some morning cloud. Light winds. H 26C.


Today: Some morning cloud, otherwise fine. Light winds. H 25C.

Tomorrow: Fine, some morning cloud. Light winds. H 26C.


Today: Morning cloud clears, then sunny. Northerly strengthens. H 22C.

Tomorrow: Fine, morning and evening cloud. Northerlies. H 24C.

South Island


Today: Mostly hot and sunny, some high cloud. Gusty northwest. H 30C.

Tomorrow: High cloud. Easterlies developing. H 31C


Today: Mostly warm and sunny, some high cloud. Gusty northwest. H 30C

Tomorrow: Fine. Northwesterlies. H 32C.


Today: A warm day. High cloud, few spots evening rain. Northwest. H 28C.

Tomorrow: Patchy rain developing. Brief southerlies. H 23C.


Today: High cloud, occasional PM rain. Gusty northwest develops. H 25C.

Tomorrow: Rain at times. Winds turning northeast. H 21C.


Today: High cloud, chance evening rain. Gusty westerlies. H 23C.

Tomorrow: Patchy rain developing. Strong westerlies. H 21C.