The unsettled southerly conditions are set to continue into the weekend for most of the country.

MetService meteorologist David Miller said the country remained in a "disturbed southwest flow", with strong southerly winds in central areas and scattered showers on the west coasts of both main islands.

The upper North Island would remain relatively sheltered today, with Auckland in for long fine periods, with some isolated showers, fresh southwesterlies and a high of 18C.

The far south was battered by gale force winds overnight, with Invercargill recording a gust of 110km/h.

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Those winds would ease this morning in the south as the southerly system moved north, but a severe wind warning remained for the Tararua Ranges with gusts of up to 140km/h forecast until 9pm.

The southerly change would bring rain and cooler temperatures as it moved north today, reaching the lower North Island this afternoon and evening.

The front would weaken as it moved north however, and tomorrow the country was in for a more settled day with the southwest flow on an easing trend.

The weekend forecast was for much of the same, Miller said, with a lingering southwest flow, scattered showers in the west and reasonably strong southwest winds in exposed areas.

Today's weather

Whangārei

Long fine periods, chance shower. Southwesterlies. 20C high, 13C overnight.

Auckland

Long fine periods but isolated showers. Fresh southwesterlies. 18C high, 14C overnight.

Hamilton Cloudy periods, chance morning shower. Southwesterlies. 17C high, 11C overnight.

Tauranga Cloud and chance shower, then becoming fine afternoon. Gusty southwesterlies. 19C high, 11C overnight.

New Plymouth Cloudy periods. A few morning showers. Fresh westerlies. 17C high, 7C overnight.

Napier Fine. Gusty northwesterlies. 20C high, 7C overnight.

Whanganui A fine day. Rain overnight with southerly change. 18C high, 8C overnight.

Wellington Fine with northwesterlies, strong in exposed places. Then evening rain with a strong southerly change. 16C high, 7C overnight.

Nelson A fine day, then evening cloud. Southwest breezes. 17C high, 8C overnight.

Christchurch Fine with northwesterlies, then brief afternoon showers with a strong or gale southerly change. 18C high, 4C overnight.

Dunedin Showers turning to rain around midday, then gradually easing to a shower or two. Southwesterlies, strong about the coast. 11C high, 6C overnight.