A blustery front whipping across New Zealand should bring much-needed rain and welcome relief to the drought-stricken north today.

Winds reached 100km/h in many parts of the country overnight as a weather system that blasted parts of southeastern Australia with wintry conditions this week made its way across the Tasman.

The front is jumping islands this morning, with high northerly winds peaking in Wellington as it whistles through Cook Strait.

MetService has issued a strong wind watch over the central North Island today but the front is expected to run out of puff as it travels up the country.

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Rain should follow in its path though, says MetService meteorologist Tom Adams. Nelson and Taranaki have had "decent amounts" overnight with scattered falls over much of the rest of the western side of the country.

Heavy rain watches and warnings are set for New Plymouth, eastern Bay of Plenty hills, and even Northland where a drought was declared on February 11.

"We know Northland is pretty dry and in need of some rain and hopefully this will bring some relief at least to those empty water tanks up there," Adams said.

Rain is also expected in Auckland where the dams that supply the city's water were less than half full this week, and where water-saving measures are already taking place. However, the wind direction means it won't get as much rain as Northland, Adams says.

The MetService has been posting photographs on social media this morning of dumps of snow at Australian ski fields.

And although the weather isn't always mirrored across the Tasman, the MetService expects Canterbury and Otago high country areas to get decent snow dumps early this week.

Temperatures remain autumnally mild today, but are set to plummet over the next 48 hours, thanks to a predicted southerly blast.

Snow is forecast to around 700m and MetService is warning that frosts are possible in some South Island spots.

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THE HIGHS AND LOWS: MAXIMUM TEMPERATURES IN THE MAIN CENTRES TODAY AND TUESDAY

Auckland today 21C: Tuesday 18C:

Hamilton today 20C: Tuesday 17C:

Wellington today 18C: Tuesday 13C:

Christchurch today: 23C. Tuesday: 12C.

Dunedin today 19C: Tuesday 10C:

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