It's time to batten down the hatches in the Waikato as Metservice has issued a Severe Weather Watch for Waikato, Bay of Plenty, Rotorua and Waitomo.
Metservice meteorologist John Law said the worst of the weather will be creeping into southern parts of the Waikato late this evening and sweeping across the rest of the region tomorrow.
''The main thing to look out for is going to be the heavy rainfall, which is headed that way on Thursday,'' he said.
Mr Law said there would also be gusty winds whipping through and advised that people keep an eye on Metservice updates for further weather developments.
At this stage, he said, it looks light the ''wet and horrid'' weather will ease off a bit late in the week with occasional showers and light winds coming in on Friday and showers clearing with a spot of fine weather this weekend.
The Severe Weather Watch for mid-week has also been issued for Marlborough, Nelson and Westland - where Mother Nature has already been wrecking havoc.
A lightning strike has set a house on fire on the West Coast, as storms and gale-force winds tear up the country.
Heavy rain and strong-wind warnings are in place for much of the South Island today and an active front approaches the country.
In the lower North Island, powerful, potentially damaging winds have started to arrive, with worse forecast to come.
Wild weather has battered the lower and western parts of the South Island, with roofs coming loose, a truck rolling in Dunedin, a trampoline causing carnage and a house fire in Fox Glacier.
A Fire Service spokesman said there had been half a dozen weather-related calls in the ''last few minutes'', and work had been steady all day.
Crews were called to a ''small fire'' at a property in Fox Glacier at 12.08pm.
''It was a fire caused by a lightning strike. However, it was out when we arrived,'' he said.
Crews were still at the property ensuring the fire was out. No-one was believed to have been injured in the incident.
The spokesman said there had been numerous weather-related calls on the West Coast as thunderstorms and heavy rain pelt the region.
However, Dunedin and Central Otago were bearing the brunt of the weather.
A ''fairly large'' truck had been blown over on Dunedin's Northern Motorway, causing significant delays.
Emergency services were called to attend to the truck and trailer unit at 12.54pm after strong winds caused it to roll.
''It has created a bit of a mess,'' the spokesman said.
The driver had been removed and was being attended to by St John. It was not known how serious his injuries were.
Roofs and outdoor equipment were also causing havoc across the south.
The spokesman said there had been ''a few calls about loose roofing''.
A trampoline had also blown through a conservatory in Waikouaiti, causing extensive damage.
As the front made landfall in Canterbury, people were urged to prepare for the severe winds and take extra care on the roads.
''And make sure things are secure outside,'' he said.
MetService has said the front will be preceded by a strong northwest flow, bringing heavy rain and thunderstorms to the West Coast and Otago and Canterbury headwaters.
Up to 250 millimetres of rain could fall within 30 kilometres east of the Southern Alps.
Northwesterlies are expected to rise to severe-gale level for most eastern parts of the South Island. The gales could reach 140kmh about inland Canterbury and the Canterbury Plains north of the Rangitata River.
In south part of the North Island, MetService is warning of gusts up to 120kmh with potential to topple power lines and trees overnight tonight
By 12.30pm today gusts of 100kmh had been recorded at Kelburn in Wellington and the State Highway 2 Rimutaka Hill Rd, between Wairarapa and Upper Hutt, MetService forecaster Dan Corbett said.
But the worst would come late tonight and early tomorrow morning.
''They are going to get stronger and it's going to be a noisy night in Wellington.''
MetService forecaster Sarah Garlick said as the ''pretty extreme'' northwest wind rose later this afternoon so would the temperature, which would peak at about 15 degrees Celsius in Wellington and 16C in Wairarapa.
This was because the wind was coming in the form of a ''warm air stream'' from the northwest.
The wind was enough to bring down power lines and trees. Drivers of high-sided vehicles should also be careful, she said.
The wind was fairly typical for this time of the year.
Hawke's Bay was under watch for severe northwest gales later tomorrow while Taranaki and the Central Plateau are in for potential heavy rain on Thursday.
In Wellington, the powerful wind and relatively warm temperatures would stick around tomorrow when there could also be some heavy showers, before the wind and heavy rain let up on Thursday.
Fine weather was forecast for Wellington both days this weekend.
Just last week, southerly winds tore through Wellington with 150kmh gusts recorded in Cook Strait and on Mt Kaukau, MetService said.
Gusts of 110kmh were recorded at Kelburn and 100kmh at Wellington Airport.
Damage included a window blown out in central Wellington, a trampoline blown away in Titahi Bay, a tree down in Johnsonville and a roof lifting in Island Bay.
The NZ Transport Agency this morning issued a warning for motorists to beware of high winds on the State Highway 2 Rimutaka Hill Rd, between Wairarapa and Upper Hutt.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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