The sunny spell is over, with rain and windy weather expected for much of the country over the weekend.

People in the South Island were reminded yesterday of the volatility of spring-time weather, as a cold and blustery southerly change spread up the island.

The front brought significant rainfall, especially in the west, where Haast saw 66.4mm of rain by midday, and some light snow settled on the Crown Road Ranges

Southerly gusts of up to 60km/h where recorded in Ōamaru, while the temperature in Ashburton dropped more than 3C in an hour following the passage of the front.

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Today, the North Island will start to feel the cooler weather as the front makes its way up the country.

"A complex low-pressure system building in the Tasman Sea is forecast to bring periods of wet weather across the North Island this weekend," MetService Meteorologist James Millward said.

"While it will remain relatively mild over Saturday and Sunday, strong and sometimes gusty northwesterly winds will be a feature of the weekend with most places on the North Island seeing rain on both Saturday and Sunday."

The areas looking to be the worst affected by rainfall on Sunday are the Waikato, Bay of Plenty, Taupō, Taumarunui and Taihape, which may fall within warning criteria.

For those taking part in the Auckland Marathon this Sunday, the good news is that while rain is forecast, it is set to ease during the morning, with winds dropping off during race time.

In the capital, some morning showers are expected to welcome the Duke and Duchess of Sussex to New Zealand on Sunday before things start to brighten up in the afternoon.

The start of next week isn't looking much better, with a strong southwest flow predicted to spread over New Zealand.

This is likely to bring strong winds on Monday about Northland and Auckland, and about the Cook Strait and southern Wairarapa on Tuesday. Some heavy rain is also possible in the east from Gisborne to the Kaikoura Coast during Tuesday.

Today's forecast

Whangārei:

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Cloudy periods, and a few showers until midday, then fine. Westerlies dying out in the evening. High 21C / Low 10C.

Auckland: A few morning showers, then fine. Westerlies dying out in the evening. High 18C / Low 10C.

Tauranga: Fine after early morning showers. Westerly breezes. High 21C / Low 9C.

Hamilton: A few morning showers, then fine. Westerlies dying out in the evening. High 19C / Low 6C.

New Plymouth: Mainly fine with evening cloud. Westerly breezes. High 18C / Low 8C.

Napier: Showers clearing and fine spells increasing afternoon. Cloudy in the evening. Strong southerlies gradually dying out. High 18C / Low 11C.

Wellington: Morning showers, then fine, but some evening cloud. Strong southerlies easing, late northerly. High 15C / Low 9C.

Nelson: Mostly cloudy with an early shower. Northerly breeze developing afternoon. High 14C / Low 10C.

Christchurch: Cloudy periods. Northeast winds developing morning. High 14C / Low 6C.

Dunedin: Cloudy periods. Northeast developing morning. High 12C / Low 7C.