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Break out the barbecue, folks — about two-thirds of Labour Weekend is shaping up to be hot.
Temperatures are expected to climb to 25degC in parts of Otago and Southland on Saturday and Sunday.
While Saturday is expected to be sunny and clear, Sunday is forecast to have increasing high cloud and strengthening northerlies, followed by late rain with a southerly change in Dunedin, Oamaru, Central Otago, Queenstown and Wanaka. On Monday, it will be cooler with early rain then a few showers clearing as the southerlies die out.
In Invercargill and Te Anau, the rain is expected to arrive a little earlier on Sunday afternoon, and Monday is expected to be cloudy but dry.
A MetService spokesman said temperatures in the early-to-mid 20s would be brought by northwesterlies that would spread over the South Island on Saturday as a front approached from the south Tasman Sea.
He said the front was expected to move on to the South Island on Sunday, bringing some rain later in the day.
It was possible the front would bring rainfall accumulations which could reach warning criteria about Fiordland, southern Westland, the Otago headwaters and western parts of Southland on Sunday, he said.
Many will take the opportunity to travel to holiday destinations for the long weekend.
Acting Superintendent Gini Welch urged motorists to plan ahead, slow down and buckle up.
"This is our first long weekend since June and with travel restricted to our own back yard, there will be more traffic on our roads," she said.
"More traffic means more risk, just by sheer volume.
"So it’s even more important to remember the safety basics, like wear your seatbelt and drive to the conditions."
NZ Transport Agency safety, health and environment general manager Greg Lazzaro said congestion and some delays were inevitable at peak times.
"But if everyone leaves plenty of time for their journey, drives to the conditions and plans ahead before leaving home, the worst of the frustrations can be eased and everyone can concentrate on arriving safely at their destination."