Weather: South Island faces potential heatwave with sweltering temperatures forecast this week

As much of the North Island prepares for even more rain, the South Island is facing a potential heatwave.

Sweltering temperatures are forecast for this week and into the weekend, accentuating the risk of fire - as well as water shortages.

"The South Island is looking hot, really hot in some cases, really over the course of today and the next few days up to Wednesday. It looks like the Otago region and parts of Southland will see the high 20s and even up to 30C," said NIWA meteorologist Tristan Meyers.

And Canterbury could be on the verge of a heatwave.

"As we head into Thursday, Friday, Saturday, that's when the heat becomes a bit more widespread affecting the Canterbury region including Christchurch where temperatures could also topple 30C," said Meyers.

A heatwave is defined as five days of temperatures that are 5C above normal for that time of year.

Those sustained high temperatures raise the fire risk over the long weekend.

"Things like mowing and grinding, those sort of things that can cause a spark, pose a risk especially as we are getting up to those 30C days," said Fire and Emergency wildfire specialist Graeme Still.

Much of the South Island is in a restricted or prohibited fire season, which limits lighting fires in the open air.

"Some places like Invercargill have had their driest start to summer since records began in 1900," said Meyers.

"I think Tiwai Point had virtually no rain about Bluff in January so that's almost unheard of in Southland," said Federated Farmers arable chair Colin Hurst.

Meanwhile Greymouth went from parched ground to briefly flooding the town centre on Monday.

The warm days have farmers across Te Waipounamu keeping a close eye on the weather.

"I've been farming for 30-odd years and we've come across these dry pinches from time to time. It's where it goes on and on for an extended period of time that it really makes things difficult," said Hurst.

Regional councils are enforcing water restrictions - Christchurch residents are being urged to only water gardens sparingly.

And in Queenstown Lakes District, restrictions have been in place for a couple of weeks already.