Heavy rain and strong winds have been forecast for central and southern parts of the country tomorrow, bringing a brief respite to the scorching summer heat.

It comes as temperatures rose to the 30s in in some areas today.

Hanmer Springs in Canterbury soared to 35.1C, making it the hottest temperature of 2024 to date, and the eighth warmest January day for the area since records began, according to NIWA.

It comes as an active front brings brief heavy rain to the west of the South Island this weekend, along with strong northwest winds to exposed parts of the lower North Island and inland Canterbury, MetService said.

An orange heavy rain warning has been issued for Fiordland about and north of George Sound, and Westland about and south of Haast between 1am and 4pm tomorrow.

“Heavy rain may cause streams and rivers to rise rapidly. Surface flooding and slips are also possible and driving conditions may be hazardous,” MetService said.

A heavy rain watch is in place for Westland between Haast and Otira from 10am to 9pm tomorrow; Fiordland south of George Sound from now until 8am tomorrow; and the headwaters of the Otago lakes and rivers from 3am to 3pm tomorrow.

A period of heavy rain is expected, with rainfall amounts potentially approaching warning criteria.

In addition, a strong wind watch is in place for Wellington and Wairarapa from 2pm tomorrow to 3am on Monday; and the Canterbury high country from midnight to 4am on Monday.

During this time, northwest winds may approach severe gale in exposed places.

The latest updates on the weather forecast can be found on the MetService website.