Temperatures in some regions are expected to reach the mid-30s this weekend as the scorching weather continues over much of the country.

Today, “abnormally dry conditions” are being felt in parts of Waikato and much of the lower North Island. Wellington is also experiencing very dry to extremely dry conditions.

South Island hotspots are in far northern Canterbury, interior South Canterbury, and coastal eastern Southland — with dry conditions in Tasman, Nelson, Marlborough, Canterbury, Otago, coastal Southland, and Stewart Island.

Parts of Canterbury, interior Otago, and Stewart Island are under very dry to extremely dry conditions.

Going into tomorrow and the weekend, MetService predicts high temperatures with “warm” north westerlies developing on Saturday.

While it’s currently hot, a north-westerly flow is expected to bring rain to the west and south of the South Island today. A heavy rain watch has been issued for southern Westland until later this evening.

The flow will dry out and heat up over the Southern Alps, creating a foehn wind – bringing hot temperatures to eastern areas, including Christchurch, which reached 31C this afternoon.

Mid-South Canterbury’s hill and high country will move to a prohibited fire season tomorrow morning, starting at 8am.

It means there will be a total ban on outdoor fires. The ban includes Hakataramea Valley and the Rangitata, Ashburton and Rakaia Gorge areas.

“We also ask people to take account of the conditions before they start any outside activities that might cause sparks, like mowing, welding or driving vehicles in long dry grass,” FENZ New Zealand district manager Rob Hands said.

North Islanders will mostly miss the rain front, aside from cloudier conditions to start about the Kapiti Coast and Wellington.”

“A weak cold front travels up the South Island overnight into Friday bringing about a change to easterly winds on Friday morning and low cloud pushing onto the east coast with the return of ridge conditions,” MetService meteorologist Clare O’Connor said.

“This wind change will also be felt over in the west, with the dying out of the northerly winds and the sun poking through by afternoon there.”

In the North Island, today’s “settled and mostly sunny” conditions will continue into tomorrow.

On Saturday morning, another “warm, moist” north-westerly is expected to develop, travelling north up the country.

Forecasters predict heavy rain will hit the south and west of the South Island on Saturday afternoon.

The heat felt in the South Island is expected to hit parts of the North Island too.

Parts of the east, including Hastings, could reach 33C on Sunday, MetService says.

“MetService advises anyone out and about in the sunshine over the next few days to remain sun smart: slip, slop, slap, and wrap, and make sure you have sufficient fluids to keep you hydrated.”

Heat alerts will be issued for the areas experiencing the highest temperatures.

On Monday, a “sharp contrast” to the weekend’s heat is being predicted, with some temperatures only expected to reach the high teens.

“In some places, this is even lower than recent overnight temperatures, which might be appreciated by anyone who has been struggling to sleep this last week,” O’Connor said.