Wind to hit up to 140km/h at weekend

Wind gusts are expected to hit up to 140km/h in a bout of wild weather set to hit much of New Zealand at the weekend.

Wind to hit up to 140km/h at weekend

Wind to hit up to 140km/h at weekend

Heavy rain warnings remain in place from MetService for most of the South Island and the central and southern North Island.

Severe northwest gales eased south of Canterbury by Friday morning and should ease elsewhere by early this afternoon, but stormy weather is expected to return for the weekend.

"Severe northwest gales with gusts of 120 to 140km/h are likely to return to central New Zealand, from inland Canterbury up to Wellington and Wairarapa overnight Friday and Saturday, and are also likely to affect parts of the central North Island high country.

"Winds of this strength can damage trees and powerlines and make driving hazardous," the warning says.

Heavy rain and thunderstorms along the West Coast and Southern Alps also eased on Friday. But another burst was expected at the weekend, with significant spillover into the headwaters of lakes and rivers in Otago and Canterbury.

Heavy rain was also expected in the Tararua Ranges, Mt Taranaki and the Central North Island from inland Taranaki to Mt Ruapehu and up to southern Waikato.

"People in all these areas are advised to look out for rapidly rising rivers and streams, and possible localised surface flooding and slips."

A Fire Communications South Island spokesman said they hadn't dealt with any severe weather-related emergencies.