Heavy rain forecast for Otago, Fiordland

Make the most of the sunny, warm weather - a cold front is set to bring heavy rain for Dunedin, North Otago and Fiordland and cooler temperatures today.

Parched areas of the South Island are finally in for a drenching as the front moves north over the country.

The MetService has forecast heavy rain of 60-70mm in Fiordland between 6am and 4pm today, and about 40mm in Dunedin and North Otago between noon and 11pm. Thunderstorms were also possible.

Meanwhile, the central North Island is set to be lashed by severe thunderstorms and hail this afternoon caused by unstable humid conditions.

Showers were expected over the rest of New Zealand, with some heavy ones on the Coromandel Peninsula, as the front moves north and weakens.

MetService forecaster Josh Griffin said the outlook was still drier than usual.

"It looks like we are going to stay relatively dry in the lead-up to Christmas, then a return to more normal rainfall after that," he said.

Temperatures have also been higher than usual, with maximums forecast today including 30degC in Christchurch, 26degC in Auckland and 24degC in Wellington. Dunedin was expected to reach a high of 22degC.

But the cold front will bring a big drop to 16degC in Dunedin tomorrow, 19degC in Christchurch and Wellington, although Auckland will remain warm at 25degC.

"Today is going to be a bit warmer than average for this time of year, returning to average tomorrow," Griffin said.

Thunderstorms, hail for central North Island

MetService has issued a severe thunderstorm watch for Rotorua, Bay of Plenty and Taupo.

These areas could produce localised downpours with intensities of 25 to 40mm per hour and hail of 5 to 15mm in diameter.

MetService said rainfall of this intensity could cause flash flooding especially about low-lying areas such as streams, rivers or narrow valleys, and may also lead to slips.

Driving conditions would also be hazardous with surface flooding and poor visibility in heavy rain.


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