29 Dec 2017

Wild weather in lead-up to New Year's Eve

10:56 am on 29 December 2017

Wild weather is expected for the central North Island today but the rest of the country continues to bask in summer's glow as we head into the last weekend of the year.

Thunder, lightning and sunshine - the works over Nelson.

Thunder, lightning and sunshine - the works over Nelson on Tuesday. Photo: Tracy Neal/RNZ

MetService has issued a severe weather warning for northern Hawke's Bay, saying heavy rain may cause surface flooding and slips, making driving dangerous.

Hikers and campers are being warned to stay away from the ranges in the northern Hawke's Bay and swimming holes might also become unsafe as stream and river levels rise rapidly.

The break in the extraordinarily sunny start to summer is being caused by a ridge lying over the South Island and a low deepening east of the North Island.

The low is expected to move slowly eastwards today as the ridge spreads across the country.

Looking ahead New Year's Eve, MetService says a front will move over the South Island on Saturday and Sunday, while a complex low approaches the country from the northwest on Monday.

This means while today is mainly fine, much of the country can expect increasing cloud and showers over the weekend with rain heralding the New Year on Monday.

For Northland and Auckland, there could be showers today and tomorrow with cloud increasing on Sunday and rain spreading from the north on Monday.

There could be some thunder and showers for inland Coromandel down to Taranaki tonight, but there will be long fine spells through the weekend and a return of the rain on Monday.

It's fine at first for the Bay of Plenty to Taupo, but showers will begin to creep in tomorrow afternoon.

Whanganui to Wellington will be fine and cloudy through the weekend with a few showers mainly about the ranges on Monday.

Gisborne, Hawke's Bay and Wairarapa will have that rain today, with gales about the coast but it's all expected to clear by Saturday afternoon for a fine start to 2018.

For the west coast of the South Island it's not such a fine, summery start to the New Year, with showers over much of the weekend and continuing into Monday.

But it's fine with just a few showers for the top of the South Island with rain developing on Monday evening about the ranges.

The rest of the South Island and the Chatham Island are expected to have scattered showers through Saturday and Sunday, with mainly fine weather to herald the beginning of the new year on Monday.

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