Auckland residents are being warned of possible thunderstorms this evening and gales, which could be accompanied by heavy rain.

The MetService said a low to the west of the country moved over Northland and Auckland today, preceded by scattered showers over large parts of the North Island.

A moderate risk of thunderstorms exists from southern Northland to inland Whanganui and Manawatu, also Hawke's Bay and the ranges of Gisborne this evening.

Any thunderstorms are likely to be accompanied by localised heavy rain of 15-25mm/h.

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A low risk of thunderstorms is also in place for northern Northland, and for parts of the lower North Island and the northwest of the South Island.

Southwest gales are also predicted for the upper North Island, with a strong wind watch in place for Northland, Auckland, including Great Barrier Island, and the Chatham Islands.

The low is expected to move to the east of the country on Friday morning, with a residual low risk of thunderstorms about Coromandel Peninsula and coastal Bay of Plenty before dawn.

However, the risk is considered moderate in Northland and northern Auckland, where thunderstorms are likely to be squally in nature, with strong wind gusts up to 100km/h in Northland and 80-90km/h in Auckland.

Hail of 5-15mm in diameter and localised heavy rain with rainfall rates of 10-20mm/h are also possible.

Strong, cool southwesterlies are also predicted for Friday, but will ease on Saturday.

MetService is also forecasting changeable weather for the weekend, in true spring style.

A busy few weather days ahead for most Kiwis! A low sweeps across the upper North Island this afternoon and evening,...

Posted by MetService New Zealand on Wednesday, 4 September 2019

"There's a few wet days coming up for most," MetService Meteorologist Rob Kerr said.

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"Respite, although brief, is on the way as a ridge brings settled conditions across the country on Saturday, ahead of more rain affecting many regions on Sunday."

Although, the ridge on Saturday is good news for most, showery southwesterlies will persist across Auckland and Waikato into the afternoon, and a few showers could affect the All Blacks vs Tonga game in Hamilton.

There is low confidence of southwest winds rising to severe gale about Wellington and the south and east of Wairarapa early Saturday morning.

A cold front will sweep up the South Island Sunday cooling things off a little, while a warm front ahead of the next low from the west moves over the North Island.

The low and front should bring rain to northern and central New Zealand during Sunday and early Monday, with strong south to southeasterlies over the central areas, and snow possibly falling to about 400m in Canterbury and Marlborough.