It has been a "lucky" escape for much of the North Island with Cyclone Hola tracking further to the east than forecast, dumping the heaviest weather at sea.

The East Coast has been the last to feel Hola's wrath, and appears to be hardest hit with more than 100mm of rain falling in places since yesterday afternoon.

Hikuwai Station near Tolaga Bay recorded 105mm, 85mm of which fell over a 9-hour period.

Tolaga Bay also had about 70mm.

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"They had a decent amount of rain around there," Metservice meteorologist Peter Little said.

The next hardest hit was the Coromandel, with 90-100mm falling in the ranges.

Kaeo in Northland experienced the strongest winds, recording a gust of 122km/h about 11am yesterday.

Air New Zealand cancelled flights in Whangarei and Kerikeri yesterday morning due to the bad weather.

Auckland has been experiencing strong winds since yesterday with gusts of 60 to 70km/h recorded in the city.

New Zealand had been lucky Hola stayed mostly offshore, Little said.

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The crucial change came on Sunday, as Hola neared New Zealand travelling from New Caledonia it slowed down and tracked more to the east.

"That meant it took longer to get here, weakened and stayed more to the east of the country," Little said.

"We were lucky the most severe weather just missed us, as the heaviest rain and strongest winds stayed offshore."

The ex-tropical cyclone was the third of its kind since the beginning of February, following tropical cyclones Gita and Fehi.

Hola was now past East Cape, out to sea southeast of Gisborne, Little said.

"Most of the strong winds and heavy rain are moving offshore. Gisborne is the last place to be hit and the rain should clear over the next hour."

In Hola's wake a brisk southwesterly flow is sweeping over much of the country.

However, the blustery winds are forecast to ease through the day in the North Island and clear for a mostly nice day.

"Today there might be just a few showers in the west, but the east will clear and it should be a nice day for most in the North Island."

Temperatures will be slightly cooler with the southwest change.

The lower South Island will not be so lucky, with a brutally-cold southerly front sticking around through the day bringing showers and strong winds.

The temperature in Invercargill is 12C - 10C lower than yesterday - and is not expected to pick up much through the day.

"Everyone has been talking about Hola but the weather goes on in the south."

Once Hola completely moves away a ridge of high pressure will form over the country, bringing relatively nice weather for most places.

In the south it will be short-lived, however, as a new southerly front begins to make its presence felt on Thursday, before really settling in on Friday.

"It will bring a decent dose of rain to the West Coast and Southern Alps, potentially warning levels, and strong winds."

Parts of the East Coast will be affected too.

"And surprise, surprise, it will get pretty windy in Wellington."

Forecasters were also keeping a close eye on a system forming over the Coral Sea, just south of the Solomon Islands.

"We consider it a high chance of forming a tropical cyclone," Little said.

"The Brisbane office of [Australia's] Bureau of Meteorology has responsibility, and may name it later today."

The next name in line for that area is Tropical Cyclone Linda, following Tropical Cyclone Kelvin in February.

Read more: Cyclone Hola: What's in a name? How to pronounce it correctly

"At this stage most models show it tracking towards the Queensland coast, then away to the Tasman Sea, where it weakens before it has any effect New Zealand's weather," Little said.

"At this stage it does not look like it will affect New Zealand, but we are keeping a close eye on it."

Today's weather

• Whangarei

Fine spells with chance evening shower. Westerlies. 24C high, 17C overnight.

• Auckland

Cloudy periods and the odd shower. Strong westerlies easing morning. 22C high, 17C overnight.

• Hamilton

Cloudy periods, and a few evening showers. Westerlies. 21C high, 13C overnight.

• Tauranga

Fine spells. Strong southwesterlies easing morning. 24C high, 15C overnight.

• New Plymouth

Cloudy periods, a few afternoon and evening showers. Westerlies. 22C high, 13C overnight.

• Napier

Rain clearing to a fine day. Westerlies. 27C high, 13C overnight.

• Wellington

Mainly fine. Northwesterlies. 23C high, 11C overnight.

• Nelson

Partly cloudy, chance shower from midday. Gusty southwesterlies. 23C high, 11C overnight.

• Christchurch

Cloud increasing. A few showers, mainly from afternoon. Westerlies changing southerly morning. 20C high, 7C overnight.

• Dunedin

Cloudy periods with the odd shower. Southwesterlies, strong about the coast. 18C high, 9C overnight.