It will be a fine start to the morning for most of the country ahead of predicted heavy rain and gale force winds marked for later this week.

Auckland and Wellington along with most other city centres will be settled and sunny but Christchurch and Dunedin are expecting rain in the afternoon as a front marches up the country.

The weather was looking good for the Duke and Duchess of Sussex's visit to Rotorua today.

The royal couple will visit Te Papaiouru Marae, the national kiwi hatchery at Rainbow Springs, and Redwoods Treewalk.

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MetService meteorologist Brian Mercer said it would be a nice day in Rotorua, and warm - up to 18C.

A front was forecast to move northeast over much of the South Island this afternoon and evening, bringing a period of heavy rain to the west of the South Island and showers to the south with a low risk of thunderstorms about the lower South Island, MetService says.

"The risk is however considered moderate in Fiordland during the afternoon and the storms there may be accompanied by bursts of heavy rain, 10 to 25mm per hour."

There was also a residual low risk of thunderstorms over Northland, Auckland, Coromandel, Gisborne and northern Hawkes Bay early this morning.

Looking ahead, a front was expected to move northeast over the North Island on Thursday followed by a southwest flow.

The front would bring a period of rain or showers, especially around the Wairoa District, with some gale force southwesterlies along coastal areas.

"Northwesterlies return on Friday and strengthen over the South Island ahead of another more active front.

"This front is preceded by northwest gales and rain, which spread over the South Island from late Friday into Saturday, then over the North Island from late Saturday into Sunday," MetService said.

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There was a high risk that rainfall accumulations could approach warning amounts about Fiordland, the Otago and Canterbury headwaters, Westland, Buller, and western Nelson from late Friday to Saturday.

There was a moderate to low risk about the Tararua Range, northern Taranaki and King Country from Saturday to Sunday.

"Also during this time, there is a moderate risk that northwest gales may approach severe gale about Fiordland, Southland, Southern Lakes, Central Otago, Canterbury and Marlborough, with a high risk about the Marlborough Sounds, Wellington, Wairarapa and the Tararua District during Saturday and early Sunday."

Your weather
Whangārei: A few morning showers, then long fine spells. Southwesterlies. High 20C Low 12C

Auckland: Fine apart from evening cloud. Southwest breezes. High 19C Low 12C

Tauranga: Fine with southwest breezes. High 20C Low 11C

Whanganui: Morning cloud clearing to fine, but cloudy from late evening and westerlies picking up. High 17C Low 10C

Napier: Showers clearing morning, then fine. Southwesterly tending northwest afternoon. High 18C Low 9C

Wellington: Any remaining showers clearing, then fine apart from cloud this evening. Southerly dying out morning and northerlies developing. High 15C Low 8C

Christchurch: Fine, then cloud increasing afternoon. Rain developing evening. Northerlies turning strong southerly at night. High 17C Low 6C

Dunedin: A fine morning, then becoming cloudy. A period of evening rain. Northwesterlies turning strong southwest evening. High 15C Low 6C

Source: MetService