Heavy rain has ended the longest dry spell on record for a location in Auckland.
A 47-day dry spell across Auckland ended with signifcant rain recorded in Western Springs and Pukekohe, NIWA said on Twitter.
It comes as an active front moves eastwards across western and central parts of the North Island, bringing with it outbreaks of heavy rain and the possibility of thundery downpours, according to MetService.
Rainfall rates may exceed 25mm/hr during this time.
How the showers help ease areas heavily affected by drought is dependendent on how much rain is seen on land, MetService forecaster Andy Best told 1 NEWS, with most of the rain expected today across coastal areas.
"For those to have impact," the rain needs to be "very slow moving and linger over the land," he said.
He noted that there was "not a long period of rain, which is what most places need".
A heavy rain watch is in place for the ranges of eastern Bay of Plenty and Gisborne, with rainfall amounts potentially reaching short-duration warning criteria.
Meanwhile, a severe thunderstorm watch is in place for the Coromandel Peninsula, Waikato, Waitomo, Taumaranui, Bay of Plenty, Rotorua, Taupō, Taranaki, Taihape and Wanganui.
Mr Best said it was "still quite warm in eastern parts of the North Island at 29 degrees - five degrees above average this time of year".
The heavy rain and thunderstorms are expected to ease at 5pm this evening.