Weather: North Island lashed by heavy rain, gales

Heavy Rain Warnings are in place for much of the North Island.
Heavy Rain Warnings are in place for much of the North Island. Photo credit: Metservice

Summer is well and truly gone as April kicks off with heavy rain and gale force winds for the North Island.

An active front is moving north-eastwards across the country and will continue to move until Tuesday morning. Metservice says a "strong and moist northerly flow" will come first, bringing heavy rain to the Bay of Plenty east of Opotiki and the Gisborne ranges. Up to 130mm is expected and thunderstorms are likely.

Mt Taranaki can expect 110 to 150mm of rain, in addition to what's already fallen overnight. The Tararua Range could see up to 100mm.

A Heavy Rain Warning has been put in place for all these areas.

In Auckland, showers will turn to heavier rain in the afternoon and there is a chance of thunder. The weather is expected to ease by Tuesday morning.

Blowing in ahead of the front are some strong north to northwest winds, meaning severe gales for Wellington with gusts of 120km/h in exposed areas. A Strong Wind Warning is in force for the region, upgraded from a Watch earlier in the day.

The far south is also in for gales, this time coming in from the west as a deep area of low pressure makes its way south of the country. A Strong Wind Watch is in place for Fiordland south of Dusky Sound, coastal Southland and Stewart Island until mid-afternoon on Monday.

Westland has borne the brunt of the wild weather over the past week, with a State of Emergency declared on Tuesday as the Waiho Bridge crumbled and a woman was swept to her death north of Hokitika.

In good news for the West Coast, a Heavy Rain Warning has been lifted from Otira southwards as the downpour has eased.

Metservice advises Kiwis to keep an eye out for more forecast updates in case the areas where they live are upgraded to a full Warning.