A touch of spring has arrived - most of the country is in for a warm, gusty and largely dry weekend.

Metservice said a high of 18C for Auckland and lows of around 12C overnight should be expected - the warm air stemming from a westerly flow which had settled over the country, after south-westerlies yesterday.

Whangarei could expect temperatures to bump over 20C on Saturday afternoon, Tauranga about 17C, while Hamilton and Wellington should expect highs of about 15C. Overnight lows should be 11C for these areas.

A spot of rain is expected to touch most areas around Saturday afternoon and evening, Metservice meteorologist John Law said, with the western parts of the island seeing a little more than others.


Not all places are so lucky - there are heavy rain warnings in place for Westland from Saturday afternoon through to Sunday morning.

Westerly and north-westerly winds could reach 30km/h in Auckland on Saturday afternoon, and the mid-20s in other areas.

August has been "warmer than usual" and temperatures are not expected to cool anytime in the near future - despite a chilly July and overall this winter being the coldest in New Zealand since 2009.

MetService duty meteorologist April Clark said during the last fortnight, most of the country was enjoying temperatures on average up to 4C warmer than usual for this time of year.

Aucklanders woke to a pretty average August morning of 10.3C on Friday, but towns like Blenheim were feeling the higher temperatures.

Clark said the town had just got over the bitter cold of the last two weeks of July - where temperatures got down to -5C, colder than usual.

But yesterday morning, like the week so far, it reached a low of only 4.5C. It reached a high of 16C yesterday compared to highs around 12C last week.

"It has been, on average, warmer, especially than what we have been having. The last couple weeks of July, pretty much almost every main centre was colder than average. So maybe that's why it's feeling so warm."

Although up to 4C warmer overnight "wasn't a huge amount" it covered the whole of the North Island and upper South Island.

"That's just the northerlies bringing warmer air in."