Weather: Rain, gale warnings as another burst of spring weather moves in

Heavy rain, thunderstorms and gales are blasting New Zealand as another burst of spring weather slams into the country.

Fronts from the Tasman Sea are moving onto the South Island on Sunday and reach the North Island later today.

"After a super Saturday a not so sunny Sunday is on the way for some," NIWA warns.

"Rain and thunderstorms will affect western parts of the South Island before moving on to the North Island by evening."

MetService says during Sunday afternoon there is a high risk of thunderstorms around Westland, Buller, northwest Nelson and into the headwaters of the Otago and Canterbury lakes and rivers. This risk drops to moderate in the evening.

"These thunderstorms are likely to bring localised heavy rain with intensities of 15 to 25 mm per hour, and possibly more during the afternoon," it warns.

There's also a moderate risk of thunderstorms for Fiordland and a low risk for the rest of the South Island.

For the Northland, there's a low risk of thunderstorms for the west of the North Island from Northland to Taranaki in the evening and at night, however this increases to moderate overnight for the northern half of Northland.

MetService has issued heavy rain warnings for much of the western side of the South Island, as this may cause surface flooding and slips.

Winds are also increasing for the coastal areas on either side of the Cook Strait over Sunday and early Monday morning.

MetService has issued strong wind warnings for Wellington, Wairarapa about and south of Featherston, and the Marlborough Sounds.

"North to northwest winds are forecast to become severe at times, with gusts reaching 120km/h in exposed places," MetService warns.

"Strong wind gusts could damage trees, powerlines and unsecured structures. Driving may be hazardous, especially for high-sided vehicles and motorcycles."