Pack down the barbecue and set the Christmas table inside - drizzle and grey skies are in store for the Christmas period in Wellington.
Metservice forecaster Philippa Murdoch said fronts were moving up the South Island today, meaning weather in Wellington would ''gradually deteriorate'' this afternoon.
Each day up to and including Christmas Day on Tuesday would be cloudy and drizzly, with occasional fine spells.
It would be warm however, with highs each day over 20 degrees Celsius, and temperatures expected to hit 25C on Christmas Day and Boxing Day.
The weather in Wellington was not overly related to Cyclone Evan, she said, but those leaving the capital could feel the cyclone's wrath.
MetService expects drizzly showers for most places in the next few days, but says it's still difficult to predict what the cyclone would do at the weekend.
A ridge of high pressure which was sitting over New Zealand should move to the east today as a trough moves over the South Island from the southwest.
MetService said that trough was expected to move northeast and then weaken over central New Zealand on Saturday, followed by another ridge.
Easterly winds will strengthen over the upper North Island during Saturday and Sunday as a low, formerly tropical cyclone Evan, approaches Northland.
The low should then move away to the west on Monday, MetService said.
Tomorrow, the North Island would be mostly cloudy with patchy drizzle in the north, some rain or showers in most remaining areas and some heavy rainfall could be possible inland.
In the South Island, rain in the north was expected to clear, turning Saturday fine apart from cloudy periods with patchy drizzle along the east coast.
On Sunday and Monday heavier rain was expected to set in over most of the North Island, although the south should remain cloudy with only a few patches of drizzle.
But on Tuesday - the day we were told could well be a scorcher - the weather is looking increasingly disappointing.
The rain is expected to continue for most places in the North Island on Christmas Day, and only drizzle in some parts of the south.
CHRISTMAS AROUND THE COUNTRY
Southward heading holiday goers will get the best of the weather on Christmas Day, but another southerly front could spoil the party.
Metservice forecaster John Law said the best place to be on Christmas Day would be in the South Island.
"There will be cloud in a lot of places, but it will be warm and mainly dry in the south."
The best places will be on the West coast of the South Island and in Central Otago, Mr Law said.
Alexandra is one of the best places to be with dry weather forecast and a high of 24C. Nelson and Blenheim would also turn on the charm, with sun expected and temperatures of 26 and 28C, respectively.
However, a cold front is expected to move in from the south on Christmas Day so rain may turn up later in the day.
He said Wellingtonians heading north should keep an eye on the weather forecast as Cyclone Evan may still be influencing the weather, bring showers to many places.
"The main thing to remember is that if you are out enjoying Christmas Day then it doesn't really matter too much what the weather is doing. It's about having fun."
- The Dominion Post
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