'Most significant storm of the season' - Severe weather forecast for much of New Zealand

A severe storm is bearing down on New Zealand, set to bring extreme weather across the country just before the school holidays.

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1 NEWS meteorologist Dan Corbett has the weather lookout for the weekend. Source: 1 NEWS

MetService has issued weather watches around the country, warning of potentially warning-level winds and rain.

1 NEWS meteorologist Dan Corbett says people should take particular care if driving.

"This one could be quite significant," he says.

"It could probably be the biggest most significant, widespread storm of the season."

Particular care is urged on Auckland's Harbour Bridge, which is still being repaired after a truck crashed into a supporting beam last week.

Waka Kotahi/NZTA says the bridge may be closed entirely if the wind gets too strong.

Gusts of around 80km/h to 100km/h have been forecast in Auckland, while around the country's coasts it could reach 140km/h.

Also in Auckland, Vector has put extra staff on this weekend in case of power cuts.

“We are encouraging Aucklanders to do their best to prepare... and ensuring their devices and power banks are fully charged today," says Marko Simunac, head of network field services.

"Although our crews are trained to work in all weather conditions and at any hour, there may be circumstances during which it is unsafe for them to begin or continue working to fix outages, for example during high winds. 

"We also wish to remind the public to stay well away from any damaged electrical equipment and report it to our outage centre."

Corbett says the stormy weather will have "everything thrown at us".

"It's like Mother Nature is packing it all in - damaging winds, heavy flooding, rain and some snow."

Wellington faces potentially damaging winds going into the early hours of Sunday, while snow in forecast to low levels in parts of the South Island.

"Sunday will be a bit of a yuck day for travelling, plan your journey accordingly or maybe delay," Corbett says.

"If you're packing for a trip away, pack some warm layers because it's going to be darn cold come Monday and Tuesday with some frost, but it will ease back literally by mid-week."

MetService says it will be updating its weather warnings and watches throughout the weekend on its website.