Heavy rain, strong winds to hit parts of NZ

Severe rain warnings are in place for the lower North Island and west of the South Island, and there are severe wind watches for some areas.

Up to 90mm of rain could fall in the ranges in Westland, Buller and Fiordland, which are under orange rain warnings. The heavy rain was expected from late morning on Saturday, with the peak expected to hit late in the afternoon and into the evening.

Otago and Southland could also experience thunderstorms on Saturday.

The rain was expected to move on to the North Island overnight from Saturday night.

An orange rain warning was issued for the Tararua Ranges in Wellington, Wairarapa, the Kāpiti Coast, Tararua and Manawatū, with heavy rain forecast from 10pm on Saturday. Up to 90mm of rain could fall, and thunderstorms are possible.

On Sunday, the rainclouds were expected to keep moving northwards, with heavy rain possible in Auckland, Waikato, Coromandel and Bay of Plenty from the afternoon.

People in Gisborne and Hawke's Bay could experience thunderstorms in the afternoon and evening.