Low rivers and dry soils in much of the country are expected to recover only slowly from the long dry spell, with rainfall expected to be just normal for the whole country during the next three months, Niwa says.
Soil-moisture levels were likely to be below normal for the north of the North Island for late autumn, and normal or below normal for the rest of the country, Niwa said today in its seasonal climate outlook.
River flows were likely to be below normal for the North Island and the north of the South Island, and normal to below normal elsewhere.
"Because of the existing soil-moisture deficits across the North Island and in the eastern South Island, soil-moisture levels and river flows are expected to take some time to recover in these areas," Niwa said.
Intense anticyclones had dominated the country since January bringing widespread dryness to many regions, but higher pressures over and to the south of the country were expected to be less dominant in the next three months.
Temperatures to the end of June were likely to above average across both the North and South islands.
Sea surface temperatures were likely to remain above average around the South Island, and be close to normal around the North Island.
The lower drink-driving limits from December are:Related story: Drink-drive limits lowered