Rain is edging on to the country today as a front arrives from the Tasman Sea.

The heaviest falls will be over the west coast of the South Island, before reaching the lower North Island this evening and Taranaki tonight, MetService meteorologist Philippa Murdoch said.

The upper North Island and eastern areas would be sheltered though and are in for a mostly fine day.

Auckland was in for a partly cloudy day, with the chance of a shower with northeasterlies and a high of 21C.

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The front would cross the North Island on Friday bringing showers and some rain in western areas. Meanwhile the South Island would see a few leftover showers in the north and west.

Heading into the weekend a "complex trough" was approaching from the Tasman Sea, bringing another round of heavy rain to the South Island's west coast on Saturday, before spreading across most of the country Sunday.

The heaviest falls would be in western and central areas, but the upper North Island including Auckland would also see some rain on Sunday.

This front could also bring northerly gales becoming severe from Auckland to Whanganui, and also Wellington, northern Marlborough and Nelson.

As the low moved east of the South Island on Sunday, a period of southerly gales was possible about the east coast from Otago to Marlborough.

On Monday, a strong and showery southwest flow over New Zealand would ease, as a ridge developed bringing more settled weather.

Today's weather

Whangārei

Cloudy periods, chance light shower. Northerlies. 22C high, 15C overnight.

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Auckland

Partly cloudy, chance shower. Northeasterlies. 21C high, 15C overnight.

Hamilton

Some morning cloud or fog, then fine. Cloud increasing evening. Northerlies developing afternoon. 20C high, 13C overnight.

Tauranga

Mostly cloudy, a few light showers. Northerlies. 20C high,15C overnight.

New Plymouth Morning cloud then fine. Showers from afternoon, then rain at night. Northerlies, strong in the evening. 19C high, 14C overnight.

Napier Fine. Northerlies. 22C high, 14C overnight.

Whanganui Fine. Rain from late evening. Northerlies. 21C high,13C overnight.

Wellington Cloudy periods. Rain from late evening. Northerlies becoming strong from afternoon. 17C high, 14C overnight.

Nelson A few showers, then periods of rain, possibly heavy, from afternoon. Northerlies strengthening. 18C high, 12C overnight.

Christchurch Increasing high cloud, a few spots of light rain from late morning. Northeasterlies. 22C high, 9C overnight.

Dunedin Variable high cloud, chance light rain in the afternoon. Northeast breezes. 20C high, 10C overnight.