A drier weekend is on the cards for most of the country, as a band of thunderstorm activity heads away from New Zealand shores.

Parts of the North Island might still see some lightning early this morning with the MetService saying there is a moderate risk of that happening in western areas from Northland to Waitomo, as well as the eastern Bay of Plenty.

Coastal Waikato could also see a few "sparks,'' according to MetService, but nothing severe.

Any thunderstorms that might happen will be accompanied with brief heavy rain and possibly hail in western parts, the authority said.

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MetService meteorologist Melissa Oosterwijk said the "crazy'' wild weather thought to hit the North Island, in particular, overnight has not happened.

"There was a lot of lightning offshore - east of Auckland and Northland. There were two active lines of thunderstorms, but they are now moving southeast.''

Just after 6am, that thunderstorm activity had moved offshore just north of the Gisborne area and around the Bay of Plenty - meaning those areas could still see some lightning action this morning.

Oosterwijk said there is a heavy rain watch in the Bay of Plenty. That watch is currently in place until tonight.

Most of the North Island is in for scattered rain or showers today; as are parts of the South Island, particularly on the west coast. However, the east coast can expect clear conditions except for cloud.

"Once this system passes, it looks like it should be dry and it looks like it will be nicer,'' Oosterwijk said.

Aucklanders can expect occasional rain with possible morning thunderstorm easing this afternoon. A high of 14C and low of 9C is forecast.

Similar conditions are all expected in Hamilton, Tauranga, New Plymouth, Palmerston North, Wellington and Gisborne.

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There will be isolated showers around the North Island tomorrow; but will clear into fine conditions very quickly.

Further south, showers in Fiordland will gradually spread north. Apart from that, most areas can look forward to fine weather.

Late last night, shortly before 10pm, the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research reported a total of 3659 lightning strikes off the northern Northland coast in two-and-a-half hours.

There were severe weather watches for thunderstorms, gusts and squally conditions for northern and central parts of the North Island, including Northland, in and around the Auckland region and Waikato.

The NZ Fire and Emergency services for the northern and central regions both reported quiet nights with no weather-related call-outs overnight.

ROAD SNOWFALL AND MARINE WARNINGS:

Meanwhile, there is a road snowfall warning for Milford Rd (State Highway 94) in the south.

MetService said those travelling in the area are warned that a few snow showers are likely near the tunnel early this morning.

Expect between 1 to 3cm of snow to settle on the road until about 7am.

Drivers are, however, encouraged to take care on the road after this time, still.

There are no road snowfall warnings in force for the Napier-Taupō Rd, Desert Rd, Remutaka Hill Rd, Lewis Pass, Arthur's Pass, Porters Pass, Haast Pass, Lindis Pass, Crown Range Rd or the Dunedin to Waitati Highway.

Anyone who might fancy heading out on the water should know there is a strong wind advisory for Manukau Harbour, Waitematā Harbour and the Hauraki Gulf.

Northwest winds are expected to reach 30 knots, gusting 40 knots, this morning. Those conditions are expected to ease below the advisory criteria by lunchtime.

There are similar conditions for the area from Bream Head to Cape Colville, where there is a gale warning.

TODAY'S FORECAST:
- Auckland: 14C high, 9C low. Occasional rain with possible thunderstorms easing this afternoon.
- Hamilton: 13C high, 4C low. Occasional rain with possible morning thunderstorms easing this afternoon.
- Tauranga: 15C high, 6C low. Periods of rain and possible morning thunderstorms clearing this evening.
- New Plymouth: 14C high, 5C low. Rain easing to a few showers this morning.
- Palmerston North: 13C high, 3C low. Rain turning to a few showers this afternoon.
- Gisborne: 16C high, 7C low. High cloud with occasional light rain.
- Wellington: 12C high, 7C low. Scattered showers. Northerlies dying out this afternoon and brisk southerlies developing later.
- Nelson: 13C high, 2C low. Fine. Light winds.
- Christchurch: 14C high, 2C low. Cloud clearing this morning then returning this afternoon with possible showers.
- Queenstown: 8C high, 0C low. Fine with light winds.
- Dunedin: 12C high, 6C low. Fine with morning light winds.
- Invercargill: 11C high, 4C low. Often cloudy. Showers developing from late morning with southwesterlies.