Easter looks set to be wet most of the weekend and throughout most of the country.
MetService expects heavy rain and severe gales in the top half of the North Island on Thursday, moving over the centre of the country into Friday.
Later on Friday there was a chance of heavy rain in eastern areas of the South Island from Canterbury to Otago.
The rough weather was the result of an intense tropical low that should become slow-moving over the Tasman Sea on Thursday, then move southeast across the southern South Island on Saturday or Sunday, MetService said.
Setting the scene for Easter, the next few days before Good Friday were also expected to be gloomy and wet, as a slow-moving low spread rain and showers in the north and west MetService communications meteorologist Daniel Corbett said.
Invercargill looks as if it could be one of the drier places during the next few days, and for now is forecast to be fine on Good Friday.
Easter Monday is forecast to be fine in a few places, including Christchurch and Whangarei.