The MetService has issued a severe weather warning with heavy rain expected to affect parts of the country in the next few hours.
An active front over the South Island is moving east tonight, bringing rain to most places and northwest gales to eastern areas. The heaviest rain is expected in Westland, Buller, and the Canterbury headwaters, and a warning is in force for these areas.
Heavy rain may cause streams and rivers to rise rapidly, MetService says. Surface flooding and slips are also possible and driving conditions may be hazardous.
In Buller and Westland from Otirā northwards, 60mm to 100mm of rain is expected about the main divide up to 3am.
The heavy rain warnings for Fiordland and the headwaters of the main Otago lakes and rivers have been lifted alongwith the watches for severe gale northwesterlies in Fiordland, Southland, Otago and Canterbury.
MetService has also issued a severe weather watch for rain about the ranges of eastern Bay of Plenty during tonight, and for Taranaki, Taumarunui and Taihape tomorrow morning.
Northwesterly winds approaching severe gale force are also possible in exposed parts of Marlborough, Wellington and southern Wairarapa, followed tomorrow by the possibility of south to southwesterly winds becoming severe in exposed parts of the Canterbury Plains including Christchurch and Banks Peninsula, Marlborough, Wellington and southern Wairarapa, especially in coastal places.
Heavy rain and thunderstorms may hit the ranges of Bay of Plenty east of Whakatane through until 1am tomorrow while Taranaki, mainly about the mountain, and the hills and ranges of Taumarunui and Taihape, may experience heavy rain through until 1pm tomorrow.