A chill has swept over the country this morning bringing a sudden end to those long, hot summer nights.

The blast of cold southerlies has brought heavy rain to the North Island's east coast and dropped temperatures to unseasonable levels.

MetService meteorologist Karl Loots said the coldest spots were in the central South Island, with Tekapo as low as 0C, while Pukaki and Manapouri dropped to 2C.

The North Island was relatively warmer but many would have been feeling the drop from the sweltering nights of late.

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Auckland dropped to a temperate 13C, well below the low 20s experienced over the past couple of months. The city would warm up today to a high of 23C, with fine weather and gusty southeasterlies easing this afternoon.

Similar cool overnight temperatures were forecast across the country for Monday also.

Loots said the rain on the east coast was not "extremely heavy" in the end, but still about 30 to 45mm fell in places over a 12-hour period, providing some good moisture to regions coming out of dry spells.

Apart from some clearing showers and a bit of rain on the east coast this morning the country was in for a mostly fine Monday thanks to a big high pressure system spreading across the country.

The next few days had similar weather in store as the high pressure stuck around, with just a few fronts bringing some rain to parts of the South Island's West Coast.

The ridge of high pressure would retreat to the east on Wednesday as a cold front moved northeast over the South Island from the south Tasman Sea.

This front, preceded by strong or gale northwesterlies and followed by strong or gale southerlies, was expected to bring a period of rain or showers to most parts of the South Island.

The front should move over the North Island and weaken on Thursday, and another ridge would spread over New Zealand from the Tasman Sea.

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The ridge should persist over the country through to the weekend.

Today's weather

Whang─ürei

A few morning showers, then fine. Brisk southeasterlies. 22C high, 15C overnight.

Auckland

Fine. Gusty southeasterlies easing afternoon. 23C high, 12C overnight.

Hamilton

Fine, chance morning shower. Southeasterlies. 23C high, 8C overnight.

Tauranga

A few morning showers then fine. Southerlies gradually easing. 23C high, 13C overnight.

New Plymouth Morning cloud then fine. Strong or gale southeasterlies gradually easing. 19C high, 9C overnight.

Napier Rain easing to a few showers this morning. Strong southerlies gradually easing. 18C high, 10C overnight.

Whanganui Morning cloud then fine. Brisk southeasterlies gradually easing. 20C high, 7C overnight.

Wellington A few showers, clearing around midday and becoming fine in the afternoon. Strong or gale cold southerlies gradually easing. 15C high, 9C overnight.

Nelson Sunny. Light winds. 21C high, 9C overnight.

Christchurch Morning showers, then becoming fine. Southwesterlies gradually easing, then northeasterlies developing tonight. 15C high, 6C overnight.

Dunedin Mainly fine, morning shower or two. Southwesterlies easing afternoon. 17C high, 10C overnight.