The heat is on in the South Island, with the thermometer reading 25°C in Timaru in the early hours of this morning, while Oamaru enjoyed its warmest ever October night last night at 22° .
Southerly centres Invercargill and Gore also had an unseasonably warm evening, registering 19° and 20° last night.
Christchurch is the warmest place to be in the country right now, with a current high of just over 26.7°, while later today sizzling Kaikoura will cook at highs of 29°.
Weather commentator Richard Green said it was very unusual to have such high temperatures at this time of year, and suggested it was probably a combination of things, including El Nino, and hot air coming in from Australia, where some areas have exceeded 40°.
But it may all be over by teatime: rain will be coming in from the west across Canterbury and Otago this evening, with northwesterlies rising to severe gales in exposed places this morning.
Those gales are making their way across the South Island, and promise to show their faces in Southland, Westland, Wellington, and south of Napier.
Several houses in Otago have lost power. Delta general manager Matt Ballard said severe winds had caused some cuts across the Aurora Network.
The Outram and Allanton areas continued to be affected, but power has been restored to most properties.
In the Berwick area, 170 properties are currently powerless.
Wellingtonians and those on the Kapiti Coast can expect evening drizzle tonight after a day of clouds, while Auckland will remain below the 20° parapet, cooling overnight to 14° with showers on Thursday.