Weather: North Island faces flooding, travel disruption as deluge heads up New Zealand

The North Island is next in the firing line for flooding and travel disruption as heavy rain moves up the country this weekend.

A rainband affecting the South Island has propelled Queenstown and Southland into local states of emergency as flooding causes road closures, evacuations and debris flow.

Meanwhile, in central Otago, heavy snowfall has shut state highways causing Waka Kotahi to urge people in the area to avoid travelling.

Now, MetService warns the impacts being felt in the South Island on Friday will move northwards as well.

On Saturday, the plume of tropical moisture affecting New Zealand will move into the North Island and unleash heavy rain - especially in the afternoon and night.

This rain-bringing front is expected to stay put over the North Island for several days and may move slowly - which could lead to a lot of rain piling up in one spot.

As a result, MetService has issued multiple heavy rain watches for the North Island with "significant rain" expected for many areas.

"All of the North Island can expect a wet weekend for the start of the school holidays, with many areas set to receive significant amounts of rain," it posted to Facebook.

"Several heavy rain watches have already been issued and more watches and warnings will be issued in the coming days. Even if there is no watch or warning out for your region yet it is likely there will be one before the weekend is over.  

"The heavy rain is likely to cause significant impacts, such as flooding and disruption to travel similar to what we have seen in the South Island already."

If you are travelling for the school holidays check in with the weather at and the road conditions at @WakaKotahi_news before making your plans.

"It's also a good idea to prepare your home for significant rainfall, especially if you'll be away from home across the weekend," MetService warned.