Summer is expected to end with a roar as thunderstorms roll across the upper North Island today.

MetService has issued a severe thunderstorm watch for areas including Auckland, Waikato, Bay of Plenty, and Taranaki.

But WeatherWatch's Philip Duncan is expecting such thunderstorms to be rare through autumn.

"There's a very light easterly around the top of the country, which is sparking some small showers," Duncan said.


"Once they move over the hot dry parts like the Waikato, they explode into life and become big downpours.

"There could be a few of those, but as we go into March, it's likely to be more tropical downpours."

A summer of drought in the upper North Island, wet in the South Island, and a cold and miserable Wellington caught in the middle, led to this summer being dubbed the "bummer summer".

But autumn may make up for that, with more warm and settled weather predicted.

Some downpours are predicted, but they'll be of the warm and tropical variety.

Duncan said the tropical weather was thanks to high-pressure systems, which the long-range forecasts predict will stick around for a while.

"The highs have been heading south over summer, but as we head into autumn they're now going back north again.

"So that high could go back over and give us nice warm weather even through April."

The warm weather will still have a wet side to it, with tropical downpours expected through March.

For those in denial about summer ending, Duncan also had some good news.

Although February 28 is the last day of summer according to the meteorological calendar, you could choose to follow the astronomical calendar instead.

That puts the equinox, and the end of summer, at March 21.