The start of the weekend will bring heavy rain and thunderstorms for some areas of the North Island as the country settles in for a wet and wild few days.

MetService has issued a weather warning for northwest of Nelson and mount Taranaki. About 100 to 150 millimetres of rain is expected in the Nelson ranges from 6pm today until midday tomorrow.

"They can get some decent downpours," MetService meteorologist Lisa Murray said.

About 80 to 100mm of rain is expected for Mount Taranaki between 9pm today until 9am tomorrow.


A severe weather watch was also issued for Northland, Auckland, including Great Barrier Island, Coromandel peninsula, Bay of Plenty, Rotorua and northern parts of Taranaki.

There were possibilities of thunderstorms in these areas, which also include Waikato, Metservice meteorologist Ms Murray said.

About 25 to 35mm of rain every hour could be expected, she said. "We need to keep an eye out for localised downpours in these areas," she said.

Because of the possibilities of thunderstorms, there could be low visibility for drivers and cause streams and rivers to rise rapidly, she said. "Driving conditions can be hazardous in these conditions."

MetService meteorologist Emma Blade said the heavy rain had just started to hit Cape Reinga.

Rain was expected for all of Northland but in some places amounts could approach warning levels of 25mm to 35mm, especially north of Kaikohe.

Ms Blade said the time the rain would hit depended on where you were located as it was sweeping down the country.

"The good news is most people will be inside but if you're going out for Friday night drinks bring a rain jacket. It is likely to clear in the morning," she said.

In Auckland, Great Barrier and Coromandel, a burst of heavy rain was expected tonight and early tomorrow morning. In some areas, rain could reach warning levels of more than 50mm in six hours or less, while localised downpours of 25mm to 35mm an hour were possible.


The heaviest downpour of rain in Auckland is expected tomorrow morning.
But fine spells will develop later in the afternoon, Ms Murray said.

However heavy rain and thunderstorm was expected to continue in the Bay of Plenty and Rotorua until tomorrow evening.

Heavy clouds have been loitering over Tauranga though only brief showers fell throughout the day.

MetService expected the rain to begin around 10pm, becoming heavy around 2am. While rain was predicted to ease in the early hours of the morning, it would become heavy again around midday.

All areas covered by the severe weather watch could also expect thunderstorms tonight.

Driving conditions could be hazardous, with surface flooding and poor visibility in heavy rain.

The weather watches will remain in place until the morning.

Further south, a severe weather warning has been issued for Mt Taranaki and northwest Nelson from this evening through to tomorrow morning.

"A complex trough of low pressure is forecast to approach New Zealand on Friday and should cross much of the country on Saturday," the MetService said.

"This trough is expected to bring rain to the north and west of both islands in a moist northerly flow."

There is a possibility of thunderstorms northwest of Nelson - west of Motueka - as well, with rainfalls of between 100-150mm expected about the ranges and 70-100mm of rain near the coast.

Because of heavy rain last week, this weekend's rain may lead to rivers and streams rising rapidly and may cause surface flooding and slips, the warning said.

Aucklanders can expect rain and strong northeasterly winds tonight, with an overnight high of 19C.

The temperature is a little hotter tomorrow, with a high of 25C, but rain is also expected throughout the day - heavy at times - and easing to showers.

Sunday will see cloudy periods and a few showers again.

Whangarei is in for a wet weekend tomorrow, but showers will ease by Sunday.

Those in Whakatane and Tauranga will see a few showers tomorrow, at least, with temperature highs in the early 20s. New Plymouth and Wellington are also in for rain. Whanganui, however, will see a cloudy day with rain, sometimes heavy, tomorrow and Sunday.

People in Gisborne and Napier will have occasional rain tomorrow, easing by Sunday.

Many parts of the South Island will see either rain or cloudy days through to the weekend; with rain forecast in Invercargill, Queenstown, Hokitika and Nelson.

Dunedin and Christchurch, however, will be cloudy tomorrow with "a few spots of rain"at times.

The wild weather won't stay for long as a ridge of high pressure over the country next week will bring settled conditions, Ms Murray said.

Be prepared

As Auckland prepares for another stormy weekend, Civil Defence and Emergency Management (CDEM) director John Dragicevich said people needed to be ready for an emergency.

Over the Easter Weekend 6000 homes were affected by power outages because of storms, he said.

However, research carried out by Auckland Council revealed only 52 per cent of Aucklanders had the necessary emergency items needed to survive a disaster, Mr Dragicevich said.

Auckland Civil Defence and Emergency Management Committee chairwoman Sharon Stewart said there were simple steps to prepare.

"Before an emergency situation people worry about their resources, mobility, connectivity and loved ones.

"Preparing for the unpredictable can help build the resilience of yourself and loved ones if you're in an emergency," she said.