Heavy rain and thunderstorms have swept through the Kapiti Coast forcing people to evacuate their flooded homes.

Nearly 50mm of rain has fallen in the past six hours in Paraparaumu, with 40mm of it falling between 2am and 3am. Another 5mm is expected before midday.

Fire and Emergency told Newstalk ZB it had received dozens of calls about flooded homes in the past few hours.

Several homes have been evacuated and Kapiti Coast District Council has opened its emergency response centre to help those affected.

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Waves crash over the breakwater at the Port of Taranaki in central New Plymouth during Cyclone Gita. Photo / Alan Gisbon
Waves crash over the breakwater at the Port of Taranaki in central New Plymouth during Cyclone Gita. Photo / Alan Gisbon

MetService meteorologist Nick Zachar said the heavy rain was from a southerly low-pressure system hovering over the upper South Island and lower North Island. Rain was scattered from Levin to Kaikoura.

It was not associated with ex-Cyclone Gita, which ravaged parts of New Zealand on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Cyclone Gita brought as much as 300mm of rain in places, winds over 130km/h and 15m waves. Rising rivers swept away cars, inundated homes and seven districts declared a state of emergency.

That system is now about 500km east of the South Island, Zachar said.

Shirley Rowling, left, sits next to her friend Val A'Court and dog Monty, after they were rescued from their Brooklyn home near Riwaka. Photo / Tim Cuff
Shirley Rowling, left, sits next to her friend Val A'Court and dog Monty, after they were rescued from their Brooklyn home near Riwaka. Photo / Tim Cuff

The heavy rain that fell in Paraparaumu has moved to Levin, and will make its way to Whanganui this morning. Both those places should clear as the system moves further north, bringing widespread showers across most of the North Island.

It should all die down by this evening.

The Nelson and Tasman districts, which experienced some of the worst of Cyclone Gita, are experiencing light rain this morning.

"But that is forecast to go away this morning, and will give them a chance to dry out a bit."

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Rural fire chief Colin Eggers makes his way through floodwater in Riwaka. Photo / Tim Cuff
Rural fire chief Colin Eggers makes his way through floodwater in Riwaka. Photo / Tim Cuff

As the southerly system works its way up the country it will push awa ythe humid blanket that has been keeping the country sweating the past few weeks.

"Temperatures are going to be a few degrees cooler once that comes through. It is going to be a welcome relief for those who have been struggling with the hot and humid nights."

Over the next few days the weather will mostly settle for the country through to Sunday with a fine weekend forecast.

"A high pressures system moves in through to Sunday bringing mostly fine and settled weather.

"Late Sunday a smaller low pressure system will make start to hit the south and west of the South Island, bringing rain and showers.

"But it will be a good weekend for most, with just some isolated showers across the country."

Today's weather

Whangarei

Showers, frequent for a time from late morning. Westerlies dying out. 23C high, 16C overnight.

Auckland Showers, frequent for a time around midday, then fine spells and southwest breezes. 22C high, 15C overnight.

Hamilton Showers becoming frequent morning, easing afternoon and clearing evening. Northwest turning southwest afternoon. 22C high, 12C overnight.

Tauranga Cloudy periods. A few showers from late morning. Northwest turning southerly afternoon. 24C high, 15C overnight.

New Plymouth Early rain, chance heavy, easing to a few showers, then gradually clearing. Westerlies tending southeast afternoon. 22C high, 12C overnight.

Napier Cloudy periods. Brief showers around midday with a southerly change. 24C high, 12C overnight.

Wellington Showers, some heavy, clearing to fine this afternoon. Southerlies gradually dying out. 17C high, 12C overnight.

Nelson A few early showers then fine spells. Southerly developing morning, dying out in the afternoon. 20C high, 12C overnight.

Christchurch A few showers, clearing mid afternoon and southwest dying out. 18C high, 8C overnight.

Dunedin Few morning showers, then fine spells. Southwesterlies. 18C high, 12C overnight.