Weather: Ex-cyclone Gretel bringing 100km/h winds, possible power cuts to North Island

Power cuts and gales of more than 100km/h are forecast today as ex-tropical cyclone Gretel makes its way down the east coast of the North Island.

While the storm has now had its cyclone status down-graded, Weather Watch warns the gusts it generates will still be "damaging".

Gretel, which brought much-needed rain to the Far North and eastern Northland overnight, evaded drought-stricken western Northland before passing to the east of Auckland and Waikato on Tuesday morning.

The storm is now tracking south, and is expected to pass over Gisborne and East Cape.

Gusts of more than 100km/h are expected to be felt in the ranges around those areas, and those based there are being told to expect power cuts.

Weather Watch says "blustery winds and coastal gales" will hit a few North Island areas today. That's great news for surfers, who will enjoy the increased swell on north-facing beaches.

There were fears Gretel could cause major damage in New Zealand this week, when it first popped up on weather radars in Australia. However, its path to the north and then east of New Zealand means there hasn't been much to be fear.

MetService says cooler temperatures will actually be "the most widely noticed" weather event for New Zealanders on Tuesday, with severe wind chill in Wellington this morning.

And the temperatures will drop further, with NIWA warning Wednesday morning will likely be the coldest of 2020 so far.