Weather: Summer's over, but warm temperatures set to stick around

Summer may officially be over, but the warm, dry weather is set to continue for much of the country.

And although some rain is forecast in the coming weeks, it probably won't be enough to help the country's drought-ravaged zones.

NIWA meteorologist Chris Brandolino says warmer-than-average temperatures are in store for the North Island for the next three months.

"Of course there'll be a cool period, but that won't define the autumn season," Brandolino told The AM Show on Monday. 

"And for the South Island [there's] about equal chances for average or above-average temperatures for the autumn season."

Although in meteorological terms summer is over, Brandolino says "it's not going to feel like it".

"It's going to feel warm, it's going to feel humid - especially for the North Island in the next few days."

Seven-day rainfall forecast (from March 1).
Seven-day rainfall forecast (from March 1). Photo credit: WeatherWatch

But despite the humidity, there is little rain forecast, Brandolino said.

"We have either a meteorological or severe meteorological drought for much of the North Island. 

"Are we going to get any meaningful rainfall? Probably not over the next couple of weeks," he said.

"[There's] nothing major for the next week, seven, eight days. There will be a bit of rain Tuesday night into Wednesday, and that will top up the weather tanks."

He said the biggest possibility for some "meaningful" rain was next week, though it's far from certain.

"The jury's still out but I think that's our real opportunity," Brandolino said.

"We need multiple episodes of rain over a long period of time to really make a difference and to turn things around."

According to WeatherWatch, the best chance of rain comes after one high departs and before another comes in. 

"The best chances for this appear to be around March 3 and 4, then again around March 9, 10 and 11 and March 13 or 14," WeatherWatch said. "These are 'wet weather opportunities' for both main islands of New Zealand, giving some better optimism that we can see now. Not locked in - but showing up in the data at least."

Although there is no "drought reverser", March at least looks better than February and was likely to be "the start of a balancing act".

"While still drier-than-average in many places we do see at least three chances of wet weather for many dry zones," WeatherWatch said. "Rainfall totals may not be huge but it's still a silver lining."