It is a bleak start to the working week for those in the northern and eastern parts of the country, as another cyclone brings lashings of rain and strong winds today.

Tropical Cyclone Hola was forecast to reach New Zealand by midnight last night and is due to affect eastern areas of the North Island.

The latest updates, from WeatherWatch, said the storm had winds reaching about 100km/h and gusts of up to 130km/h yesterday evening. By midnight, the winds were estimated to weaken slightly - reaching up to 80km/h and gusts of up to 100km/h as it made its way here.

The MetService has issued severe weather warnings for heavy rain and strong winds in a number of places.


The heaviest rainfall is forecast in Northland, Great Barrier Island, Coromandel Peninsula, northern Hawke's Bay and Gisborne, where a heavy rain warning was already in force yesterday.

Up to 100mm to 150mm of rainfall is expected in Gisborne from early this morning through to the early hours of tomorrow.

A strong wind warning was put in place for areas including Northland, Great Barrier Island, Coromandel Peninsula, Auckland, Bay of Plenty, Rotorua and Gisborne.

In Auckland, gale southeasterlies are forecast to develop this morning before changing southwesterly this afternoon.

Severe southwest gales gusting up to 120/h in exposed places are also expected this afternoon through to this evening, particularly in the east.

"Heavy rain could cause temporary flooding and rivers to rise rapidly, while strong winds have the potential to cause damage to powerlines and unsecured items,'' the MetService said.

"Remember, this system is compact but fast-moving - meaning that those expected to be impacted should expect weather conditions to change rapidly.''

WeatherWatch head analyst Philip Duncan said the eye of the cyclone was due to sit a few hundred kilometres north of Northland by midnight last night and would then track from the northwest to the southeast.


He said there would be a small but very "potent burst'' of rain heading our way today.

"This rain may cause flooding and slips ... and affect state highways."

It was also thought winds in the cyclone system will change a lot during its time here and there was therefore a potential for wind tunnels forming.

"Wind damage may be in certain areas rather than widespread, with various wind tunnels being one factor and the other factor being the damaging winds right at the centre of [a new] low.''

Cyclone Hola, which has just passed over New Caledonia, is set to move out towards the east New Zealand and move away by early tomorrow.

Meanwhile, lines company Vector will have crews on standby in case the storm does any damage to the electricity network.

Chief network officer Andrew Botha said teams were ready to head out as soon as it was safe to, should any lines come down because of bad weather conditions.

"Please do yourself a service and tie down anything loose like trampolines or outdoor furniture,'' Botha urged.

"And please - always treat downed lines as live and stay well clear.''


Kaitaia: Rain with heavy falls, easing this evening. Strong southerlies. 22C high, 17C overnight low.
Whangarei: Rain with heavy falls, clearing this evening. Strong southerlies gusting 90/h. 24C high, 17 overnight low.
Auckland: Rain this morning, with heavy falls. Clearing evening. Strong southeast, turning gale southwest. Gusting 100km/h this afternoon. 21C high, 17C overnight low.
Hamilton: Rain this morning, with heavy falls. Strong southeasterlies. 19C high, 15 overnight low.
Tauranga: Rain this morning with heavy falls. Strong southeasterlies, possible gale. 23C high, 16C overnight low.
New Plymouth: Cloud increasing, period of afternoon rain. Southeasterlies strengthening. 21C high, 15C overnight low.
Gisborne: Rain this morning with possible heavy falls and evening thunderstorms. Easterlies becoming strong this morning, turning southerly this evening. 23C high, 17C overnight low.
Palmerston North: High cloud, easterlies. 21C high, 14C overnight low.
Wellington: Fine, with increasing cloud. Northerlies. 20C high, 13C overnight low.
Nelson: Fine with high clouds, light winds. 20C high, 14C overnight low.
Christchurch: Fine, high cloud at times. 23C high, 11C overnight low.
Queenstown: Fine with high cloud. 22C high, 10C overnight low.
Dunedin: Fine with high cloud at times. 22C high, 11C overnight low.