Long weekend weather: 'Laid back' forecast for North Island as south battered by heavy rain, strong wind

There is no let-up in the wet weather this long weekend as much of the country can expect rain today, with several severe weather warnings for the South Island.

But after weeks of torrential rain for the upper North Island, which caused flooding and slips, things are finally improving.

In Auckland, which was devastated by flooding for the past week, Sunday is mainly fine with clouds and scattered showers in the evening and a high of 25C and a low of 19C.

Monday is much the same with clouds and rain at times which will clear in the afternoon. But Tuesday is looking sunny with fine weather and a high of 24C and a low of 17C.

The central North Island is a similar story with showers expected for much of the area.

In Tauranga, Sunday will be cloudy with drizzly patches in the morning and then clearing up for midday.

Showers are possible in the evenings. On Monday the city can expect rain easing to the odd shower in the afternoon with fine breaks developing and northwesterlies - which will die out in the evening. Tuesday meanwhile will be fine with westerlies.

The capital though is in for a rough long weekend with rain developing tonight and northerlies, rising to gale in exposed places.

The weather will improve in Wellington on Monday though, with a fine day expected apart from a few showers north of the city until midday. Tuesday will also be fine with northerlies.

According to WeatherWatch, the North Island is in for relatively "laid back" weather on Sunday.

"A mainly fine day with increasing cloud and breezy northerlies should be the gist of the day for most, except for some isolated showers about the Bay of Plenty and the Central Plateau," the forecaster said.

"Northerlies strengthening in the south and west during the afternoon, possibly rising to gale about Wellington, Manawatu and Taranaki.

"Rain is likely to develop and spread eastwards across the island from evening with the arrival of the front, potentially heavy for a time for western districts. Our familiar warm and humid airflow continues, with temperature highs ranging across the mid-20s for most."

While the North Island can mostly expect relatively calm weather, it's a different story for the south.

The west coast of the South Island is in for heavy rain and strong, gusty northerlies for Sunday.

It's a  similar story for the Buller and Tasman districts, with rain setting in and becoming heavy for a time later in the afternoon. 80-150mm accumulations are likely by the end of the day.

The warm streak will continue in the east and south of the South Island, according to WeatherWatch, but thick high cloud is expected to increase, and possibly result in some 'spillover' showers at times from late morning on Sunday.

"A period of more persistent rain will spread eastwards across Marlborough later in the day. Breezy Northerlies in the South, but strong and gusty Nor'Westers about inland Canterbury and Marlborough- rising to gale in exposed places. Strong, gusty North-Easterlies along the coast. Expect mild temperature highs again, in the mid to high 20s," the forecaster said.

There are also several severe weather warnings and watches in place for the south.

An orange heavy rain watch is in place for Tasman northwest of Motueka from 2pm today until 10pm.

Metservice says residents should expect 70 to 100 mm of rain about the ranges, and lesser amounts nearer the coast.

Heavy rain may cause streams and rivers to rise rapidly. Surface flooding and slips are also possible and driving conditions may be hazardous.

An orange heavy rain warning is also in place for Buller from 1pm to 9pm tonight.

Westland south of Otira is also under an orange heavy rain warning with between 200 to 300 mm of rain expected in the ranges and 80 to 130 mm about the coast.

The warning lasts from 2pm today until 6pm and Metservice warns that bursts of heavy rain and thunderstorms are expected throughout Sunday night into the early morning on Monday.

Meanwhile, Fiordland north of Doubtful Sound is also under an orange heavy rain warning from 1am until 2pm this afternoon.