Downpours and severe gales hit
Gales whipping central New Zealand have sparked warnings to motorists and hit commuter ferry services in the capital.
Heavy rain and severe northwest gales were on the cards for many as a very strong northwest flow covered the centre and north of New Zealand.
MetService was warning of downpours in western areas, while northwest gales would affect much of central New Zealand until Tuesday afternoon or evening.
In Wellington, gusts reached 130kmh in Kelburn between 9pm and 10pm on Monday while the State Highway 2 Rimutaka Hill Rd - which was briefly closed - had a 135kmh gust.
The NZ Transport Agency (NZTA) warned drivers to take care on the road on Tuesday.
Wellington's East by West harbour ferries were running a reduced service due to the strong winds, with services leaving Days Bay at 6.50am, 7.45am, and 8.35am.
However, both Interislander and Bluebridge ferry services across Cook Strait were operating on schedule.
A glass balustrade was blown out from the Clyde Quay Wharf apartments in Wellington early on Tuesday.
MetService was expecting the strong winds to continue in Wellington till Tuesday afternoon.
MetService had issued a strong wind warnings for Hawke's Bay and Taihape, Wairarapa including the Tararua District, Wellington and the Marlborough Sounds.
Northwest gales would be severe at times in Hawke's Bay and Taihape, with gusts reaching 120kmh in exposed places, especially about high ground, MetService warned. In Wairarapa, 130kmh gusts were expected. All would ease later on Tuesday.
Winds could reach severe gale in Wairarapa and the Tararua District as well as Wellington and the Marlborough Sounds, gusting up to 130kmh.
Strong wind watches were in place for Gisborne, Taranaki, Whanganui, Manawatu, Nelson, and Kapiti.
The strong northwest winds had already made their presence known on the east coast of the North Island, with Hastings reaching 19.8 degrees Celsius at 5.40am on Tuesday.
Rain would be heaviest around Mt Taranaki, the Tararua Ranges near Wellington, Buller and northwest Nelson, the forecaster said.
Heavy rain warnings were in place for all those places, while heavy rain watches had been issued for high parts on the central North Island, the Richmond Ranges in Tasman, and Rai Valley in Marlborough.
Northern parts of Wellington, especially Upper Hutt, could receive 40 to 60mm of rain until around midday Tuesday, MetService warned, with peak rates of 15 to 25 mm an hour. Thunderstorms were also possible.
There was also a risk of thunderstorms over the country.
In the North Island, storms could form from western Waitomo to northern Wellington from mid-morning, while in the South Island thunderstorms were possible in Fiordland before dawn on Tuesday, and then about Westland, Buller and far western Nelson.
Auckland would have rain from late Tuesday morning, possibly heavy, and fresh northwesterlies, with a high of 20C.
The rain in Wellington would ease to showers in the morning and clear in the afternoon, as would gale northwest winds. The capital was expecting a high of 16C.
In Christchurch the day would be fine with high cloud and northeasterlies, heading for a high of 20C, however there would be a late shower with a southwest change.
Dunedin would be fine at first, with showers coming in an early afternoon southwest change. The city would head for a high of 18C.