NZ weather: Subtropical moisture plume to bring rain, thunderstorms to North Island as temperatures push towards 30C in South Island

Kiwis in the North Island will need to plan indoor activities for the weekend, with rain and thunderstorms set to lash most of the island. 

MetService has issued a heavy rain warning for Northland from 10pm on Thursday to 10pm on Friday, which will bring 100-130mm of rain. 

MetService warns heavy rain may cause streams and rivers to rise rapidly, surface flooding and slips are also possible while driving conditions may be hazardous.

NIWA meteorologist Ben Noll told AM on Thursday a subtropical moisture plume will "dampen plans" for Kiwis in the North Island.

"It'll move into Northland later on today, Thursday, and then it'll move southward as we go into Friday when it'll be right over the top of Auckland," Noll told AM co-host Melissa Chan-Green.

"So those folks that are looking to leave Auckland and go somewhere else in the North Island later on Friday, it's not looking the best because it actually will not just be over Auckland but the likes of the Coromandel, Western Bay of Plenty, Waikato, perhaps down to Taranaki as well." 

It won't just be rain and thunderstorms that will lash the North Island with Noll warning about the humidity for the North Island.

"So this weekend, if you have an air conditioner or a fan, keep that close by," he said. 

But it's not all bad news for Kiwis in the North Island, with Noll saying there could be some respite from the wild weather, especially for Aucklanders. 

"If I had to pick a day, I'd probably go for Monday for Auckland, maybe Saturday afternoon, so it's about picking your spots. There will be some periods where there will be some dry weather."

NIWA meteorologist Ben Noll.
NIWA meteorologist Ben Noll. Photo credit: AM

While the North Island may be getting battered by the wild weather, the South Island is the place to be for any New Zealanders looking to enjoy the sunny, hot weather.  

"It's going to be a real cooker in the eastern South Island today and again tomorrow, Friday, so we could see temperatures over 30 degrees," Noll said. 

"I must say, as we go towards Sunday and Monday, it is really going to heat up for Otago and Southland. Invercargill is tracking toward its driest January on record and we could see temperatures above 30 in Otago, maybe near 30 in Southland on Sunday, so the South Island is probably the island to pick this weekend for the weather."

Waitangi weather prediction 

With Waitangi weekend just over a week away, many Kiwis will be hoping for some fine and hot weather for the long weekend. 

"So a little crystal ball gazing and I'm thinking that our odds are better for dry weather for Waitangi weekend than it is this weekend, especially for the North Island," he said. 

"High pressure is probably going to return early next week just as everyone goes back to work, that's always how Mother Nature organise these things. Then hopefully it sticks around for the weekend to come." 

But Noll warned the wild weather could return to the North Island after Waitangi weekend. 

"Just after Waitangi, it could turn quite unsettled again, so we're probably not done with this very unsettled summer we've had again for the North Island," he said. 

"Meanwhile, in the South Island, Otago and Southland, we could be talking about meteorological drought next month. So the weather is kind of flipped on its head this summer, that's thanks to La Niña and we have a marine heatwave near the South Island and that's really jacking up the temperatures."

Watch the full interview with Ben Noll above.