Most of the country has had a long hot week but it's well and truly over with wet weather around the country today.

Severe weather warnings and watches are in place for parts of the North Island as the system moves northwards, and everywhere in New Zealand was expected to get some wet weather today and tomorrow.

For some places that means drizzle and spitting but thunderstorms and heavy rain are forecast for parts of northern and central New Zealand this afternoon.

Before dawn on Monday thunderstorms are possible in coastal Waikato, Waitomo and Taranaki, as well as the Bay of Plenty and the far north of Gisborne.

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The storms could be accompanied by heavy rain of 10-20mm per hour, Metservice said.

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Tomorrow morning another front is expected to bring a moderate risk of thunderstorms to Northland, again with heavy rain of 10-20mm per hour and possible hail.

Northland through to Gisborne could also see thunderstorms and heavy rain with hail tomorrow afternoon and evening.

But forecaster Weatherwatch.co.nz says the wet won't last, with the last weeks of November likely to be warm again.

The balmy weather has been due to a series of fronts and troughs that brought warm moist air from the subtropics.

Hamilton Airport had a record-equalling 28.3C on Thursday, and Timaru, Napier and Hastings got to 29C on Friday. Today's high was in Kaikoura where the temperature hit 25C at just 5am.

Some areas have also had plenty of rain. Over the past seven days several weather stations on the West Coast measured more than half a metre.

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"Warmer air can hold a lot of moisture, which can lead to significant amounts of rain," Metservice meteorologist Andrew James said.

A series of fronts from the Tasman Sea are expected to affect the country today and early Monday, bringing periods of heavy rain and strong winds to many parts of the country.

The heaviest rain is expected about the ranges of northern Westland, the ranges of eastern Bay of Plenty, Gisborne north of Ruatoria, the Gisborne ranges, and now also northern Taranaki, where Heavy Rain Warnings are in force. Heavy Rain Watches are also in force for central parts of the North Island.

Metservice said by the end of Monday rain would ease to showers and then clear from the south over Monday and Tuesday.

While it's not great cricket weather, the rain will be welcomed by farmers. The North Island is drier and warmer than normal for this time of year, according to Weatherwatch.co.nz, and some areas are desperately in need of rain.

"If rain fails to fall this weekend for some dry northern areas then we receive no decent rainmakers for another couple more weeks," head forecaster Philip Duncan says.

"It's not hard to see how the big dry could become more of a situation fast if soaking rains don't start returning to the north."

Weatherwatch said while the West Coast had received plenty of rain, the rain bands have been falling apart as they move on to the North Island thanks to interference from high pressures systems.

"Long-range models show this pattern of highs coming out of Aussie over NZ may increase in the next couple of weeks. Some may argue it's an early start to summer this year, after all we have Christmas temperatures already in the first week of November".

Duncan said conditions would warm up later in the week, with potential for the warmth to linger till the last week of November.