Rain around NZ for New Year's holiday

weather rain New Zealand
Be prepared for bad weather around NZ (file)

The New Year will get off to a rainy start around New Zealand, with periods of rain forecast for much of the country.

Saturday looks the best for the North Island, with warm and mostly dry weather predicted.

MetService meteorologist Emma Blades says Wellington looks to be dry but windy on Saturday, with northerlies forecast to pick up.

"At the moment Auckland is not looking too bad, with just the chance of a shower for Auckland on New Year's Eve."

But the weather is looking worse for the South Island on Saturday.

"Wet weather [is] forecast for western and southern areas, but fortunately eastern areas are only likely to get the odd spot of rain - including Christchurch. Temperatures will be fairly mild, with low 20s for most places."

As for New Year's Day, Ms Blades says a westerly flow will predominate, bringing warm temperatures for eastern areas, especially Hawke's Bay, Canterbury and Marlborough, which could see temperatures in the high 20s.

"Unfortunately it looks like Wellington will get some rain on Sunday, with northwesterlies possibly reaching gale," says Ms Blades. "The west of the South Island and lower North Island are also likely to get rain.

"Christchurch should stay dry but gusty. Auckland is not looking too bad, with cloudy periods and possibly the odd shower forecast for New Year's Day."

The shape and placement of highs over Australia as they come towards New Zealand mean early summer will continue to be dominated by airflows out of the Southern Ocean.

"The anti-cyclonic flow is scooping up much cooler air from the Southern Ocean and placing it over New Zealand," says weatherwatch.co.nz head weather analyst Philip Duncan.

"So far our summer weather pattern is being dominated by Southern Ocean airflows, after a significant portion of spring was dominated by warmer than usual airflows out of the Australian interior."

The highs may shift more over New Zealand in January, which they usually do.

Mr Duncan says La Niña patterns are around this summer but are weak and measured at the equator, a long way from New Zealand. Highs between New Zealand and the sub-tropics are acting as a buffer, meaning our weather has been dominated by Southern Ocean lows and fronts.

Tropical downpours and La Niña weather patterns are expected to increase in January for Australia's eastern coastline and could have a slow flow-on effect in New Zealand later in the month.

While La Niña may affect the west and south of New Zealand, holiday spots and camping grounds to the east should enjoy hot, sunny weather.

Places like the Bay of Islands, eastern Coromandel, Bay of Plenty, Gisborne and Hawke's Bay should expect mostly hot, dry and sunny weather over the next 14 days, while Nelson and Blenheim will also have some sunny and warm days.

More downpours for early January will be welcome news for farmers in the drought-affected Canterbury and other dry regions in the South Island's east.


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