Parts of the North Island are being warned to brace for a subtropical drenching with heavy downpours so intense the crippling drought may finally be broken.

Heavy rain is expected to hit the country today and last for up to a week. At the same time the South Island is facing an autumnal cold snap as temperatures in some regions barely register above single digits.

MetService said a low pressure system was expected to stay at the top of the country dragging humid air down from the subtropics and bringing rain across northern regions.

The downpour was expected to be so intense, warnings may be issued for upper districts of the North Island.


Auckland is expected to see rain developing this afternoon, as is Hamilton and the wider Waikato region, where a high of 25C is forecast. Further north, temperatures remain warm, in the mid-20s, but those in Kaitaia will see showers and heavier rain from this afternoon.

Gisborne has occasional rain this evening, and afternoon rain is forecast in Palmerston North and Wellington. Rain was also expected over the Bay of Plenty, Gisborne, the Hawke's Bay ranges and the central North Island high country, but not to warning levels.

The MetService said the watch was for the possibility that rainfall accumulations would reach warning levels in Northland, Auckland, Great Barrier Island, Waikato, Coromandel Peninsula and Western Bay of Plenty from today through to Wednesday and Thursday.

Today's forecast
•Whangarei: Showers developing, chance heavy evening rain. 25C
•Auckland: Rain developing in afternoon, chance heavy. 24C
•Tauranga: Evening rain, chance heavy. 24C
•Wellington: Afternoon southerly change brings rain. 21C
•Christchurch: Showers, then fine. 17C