Take the umbrella to work today: most of the country is expecting rain.

MetService meteorologist Claire Flynn said Southland may be the only part of the country to escape getting at least some rainfall today.

"Most of the rain will be in the north west of both islands," she said.

"The east and lower North Island may only receive scattered, patchy rain but they should get some."


Whangarei, Auckland, Tauranga and Hamilton are expected to have heavy rain at times.

Meanwhile, MetService has severe weather watches in place for Westland, Buller, northwest Nelson and eastern Bay of Plenty.

Heavy rain is expected in the ranges of northwest Nelson and Buller where 90mm of rain may accumulate, while the ranges of Westland south of Otira may receive 150mm of rain.

Mt Taranaki and Tongariro National Park could also expect heavy rain tomorrow, and heavy rain is expected to start on Great Barrier Island and the Coromandel Peninsula around midday today and last until tomorrow morning.

Ms Flynn said the rain was coming in bursts and should clear by tomorrow.

But another weather system would come through bringing rainfall to most of the country on Saturday.

The winter solstice arrived at 10.34am yesterday, when the sun's position reached its farthest point north of the Equator. It brought the least amount daylight of the year.

It was an unseasonably warm solstice as the country sweltered under a tropical air mass.

Most cities in New Zealand would have two or three minutes more daylight by the end of the month.

By the end of July, the additional daylight would reach nearly 38 minutes in Auckland, 45 minutes in Wellington and 54 minutes in Invercargill.

Meanwhile, the warm weather has put paid to the Treble Cone Ski Area's plans to open for the season at the skifield near Wanaka in Central Otago tomorrow.

Chief executive Jackie van der Voort announced yesterday afternoon it had been decided to postpone the start of the season because of unusually warm temperatures.

Ms van der Voort said the unseasonal weather pattern had resulted in insufficient snow cover across the saddle basin and had limited snow-making in the home basin.

"Operational staff are monitoring the forecast closely, and are hopeful for snow in the near future.

"Everyone is raring to go.

"We understand it's hugely frustrating for both customers and staff but Mother Nature doesn't always work in our favour," she said.

"We will open as soon as we're physically able."

Rain on the way

Whangarei: Rain, heavy at times. Strong northerlies. High 20C.

Auckland: Rain, heavy at times. Strong northerlies ease in the evening. High 19C.

Hamilton: Rain, heavy at times. Northerlies ease in the afternoon. High 18C.

Tauranga: Rain, heavy at times. Northerlies. High 18C.

Wellington: Periods of rain. Northerlies, strong in exposed places. High 16C.

Source: MetService

- Additional reporting Otago Daily Times