Summer may be weeks away but this week is looking decidedly chilly - and wet.

Bouts of rain can be expected almost everywhere today as several cold fronts move over New Zealand, as an overnight deluge hit Auckland, forecasters say.

The rain will get heavier in the north and west of the North Island this afternoon easing to showers and dry bouts this evening, while the east will see scattered rain.

Snow showers were expected on higher parts of Milford Road (SH94) through till 6am, with 2-5cm of snow settling above 800m, MetService said.

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There would be heavy rain on the West Coast this morning, easing to showers and sunshine with westerly winds. Hokitika is currently the wettest area in the country with a good dump of rain expected before 8am.

MetService said the West Coast had measured some impressive rainfall in the past two weeks, with the Mt Browning weather station registering 1.2m - the amount of rain Auckland's Albert Park gets in an entire year.

Nelson and Marlborough could also expect rain this morning, clearing in the afternoon, while in Canterbury it was the opposite - starting out dry with showers developing and possible thunderstorms and hail this afternoon.

There was also a chance of thunder and hail for coastal Otago with heavy rain expected late this morning.

Omarama in south Canterbury was the coldest part of the country, shivering at just 2.9C before 6am, while Wellington was the windiest with strong northwesterlies exceeding 40km/h.

Rain is moving across New Zealand from the west this morning, rain radar shows. Image / Metservice
Rain is moving across New Zealand from the west this morning, rain radar shows. Image / Metservice

The first half of this week is expected to be cooler than average - Niwa is even predicting some snow in higher parts of the country.

On Tuesday and Wednesday a series of fronts from the west are forecast to bring bouts of heavy rain and northwest gales to parts of southern and central New Zealand, Metservice said.

Heavy rain is likely to reach warning levels in Fiordland and Westland tomorrow, while the headwaters of the Otago and Canterbury lakes and rivers may also reach warning rain levels.

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A ridge of high pressure - and sunnier weather - should then move over the country from the Tasman Sea on Thursday and remain over much of New Zealand on Friday, Metservice said.

Today's weather

A few showers, then period of afternoon rain, possibly heavy, easing evening. Northwest changes southwest afternoon. High 23C, Low 11C

Auckland Showers, possibly heavy in the afternoon, easing evening. Northwest changes southwest afternoon. High 20C, Low 11C

Hamilton Periods of rain, possibly heavy morning, clearing towards evening. Westerlies, dying out in the evening. High 19C, Low 7C

Tauranga The odd morning shower, then rain, easing in the evening. Fresh northwesterlies turning lighter westerly by evening. High 21C, Low 9C

New Plymouth Periods of rain, clearing in the afternoon. Westerlies. High 17C, Low 8C

Napier Cloudy periods and a few showers. Northwesterlies. High 26C, Low 9C

Whanganui Periods of rain, clearing during the afternoon. Strong northwesterlies, easing evening. High 19C, Low 9C

Wellington Rain developing towards midday, briefly heavy, clearing afternoon. Strong northwesterlies easing overnight. High 16C, Low 10C

Nelson Period of morning rain, then becoming fine afternoon. Southwesterlies easing. High 16C, Low 8C

Christchurch Showers, chance heavy, and southerlies developing in the morning, clearing in the afternoon as winds turn northerly. High 17C, Low 6C

Dunedin Early rain, then showers, chance heavy, clearing by evening as southwesterlies turn northerly. High 15C, Low 8C