Weather: Messy day of rain, wind before the big chill

The wild wind and rain woke many people around the North Island early on Wednesday morning, as a stormy front started moving across the country.

MetService has forecast heavy rain and strong northerly gales will continue to hit the northern and western areas of New Zealand throughout the day.

"Just got woken up at 4am by crazy weather here in Pokeno," one person commented on MetService's Facebook page. "Thunder, wild wind, rain, everything."

"Very windy and raining heavily in Auckland!" another commenter said at 4am.

"The wind just arrived here in Tokoroa," another wrote at about 6:30am.

The most torrential downpours are expected to hit the eastern hills in Northland, and the ranges of northwest Nelson on Wednesday.

The severe weather watch for the area east of Whakatāne has been upgraded to a full warning, MetService says.

Auckland's heavy rain should ease at about midday Wednesday, while it will continue in the Bay of Plenty until evening.

Rain is forecast for much of the North Island for the rest of the week. It will be followed by southerly winds, which are expected to bring overnight lows of 6degC in Auckland on Sunday.