Weather warnings, watches issued for parts of North Island as subtropical low hits New Zealand

Kiwis in parts of the North Island will need to pack an umbrella for the Easter Weekend after weather warnings and watches were issued. 

MetService said a large and complex subtropical low-pressure system is expected to approach Northland on Thursday before slowly moving east to the southeast on Friday and Saturday, bringing rain to the north of the country.

"There is still uncertainty of the exact path of the low centre, however, there is the risk of heavy rain and strong winds for parts of the North Island, mostly in northern and eastern areas, along with large swells for the eastern coast," MetService meteorologist Andrew James said.

MetService issued an orange heavy rain warning for Gisborne from 8am on Friday through to 9pm on Saturday. 

MetService said 70 to 120mm of rain is expected in a 24-hour period, with the forecaster warning it could cause streams and rivers to rise rapidly. 

"Surface flooding and slips are also possible and driving conditions may be hazardous," MetService said. 

A heavy rain watch is also issued for Northland and Great Barrier Island from 12pm on Thursday until Saturday morning and Hawke's Bay from 12pm on Friday until Sunday morning. 

"We are expecting heavy rain, but nowhere near as much rain as what occurred during Cyclone Gabrielle, however, it's probably the most rain for the region since the mid-February event," James said.

Easter weather 

MetService meteorologist John Law told AM on Thursday most places in the North Island will see rain over the long weekend. 

Law said Northland and Auckland will see the worst of the rain on Thursday and Friday while the east coast of the North Island will be in the firing line over the weekend. 

On Good Friday, Law said the South Island is the place to be as most places will enjoy the sunshine. 

"As we head into Good Friday, it looks like a pretty decent day across most of the South Island, places like Queenstown and the West Coast, seeing some really enjoyable sunshine, however, keep an eye on those temperatures, a cold start to the day first thing down in Queenstown," Law told AM co-host Melissa Chan-Green.

"The North Island, it's a different story. Cloudy with spells of rain and some of that will be quite heavy, especially on that eastern coast, places like Gisborne could well find some watches and warnings as we head towards Good Friday." 

MetService meteorologist John Law.
MetService meteorologist John Law. Photo credit: AM

Law said it's more of the same for Saturday and Sunday, with the east coast of the North Island still in the firing line for heavy rain. 

"A similar kind of story for Saturday, that heavy rainfall across the eastern side of the North Island, generally a cloudy story right the way up into places like the Coromandel and up in towards the Bay of Islands as well," he said. 

"The South Island, again, a good place to be, plenty of sunshine through there. Golden Bay, looking pretty decent and down in towards the likes of Queenstown as well. Still keep an eye on those temperatures." 

Watch the full interview John Law in the video above.