Nature's going to rain on Santa's parade

Last updated 05:00 22/12/2013

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Forecasters are predicting no one will escape the rain and showers on Christmas Day as a wet-weather front moves north across the country.

But there's a silver lining to the approaching gloom. The front is now arriving earlier than expected - on Christmas Eve - meaning the South Island could escape the worst of the weather on Christmas afternoon.

A new warmer ridge of weather is also expected to bring sunshine to most of New Zealand by Boxing Day, according to the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research.

Now the bad news: MetService duty forecaster Frances Russell said the wet-weather front will make its way up the country on Christmas Eve, leaving showers in its wake.

"Much of the North Island will get a period of rain."

Barbecues in the South Island will also be hit by showers, she said.

The front is expected to reach Northland by midnight on Christmas Day.

Hawke's Bay is looking like the place to be, with the temperature expected to hit 25 degrees Celsius over the holidays.

Although it's certainly not looking as warm as last year throughout the country.

There were several record temperatures for Christmas Day 2012, including 31.3C at Martinborough and 32.5C at Lauder in Central Otago.

Looking back at Christmas Day over the past decade, an unlikely winner has taken the title of the hottest main centre. Wellington had the hottest Christmas Day of the six main centres in the past 10 years, despite being known for its tumultuous weather.

The capital hit 28.6C last year, according to Niwa climate scientists.

Tauranga, more known for its sunshine and a beacon for holidaymakers over summer, only managed 24C in 2008 and 2009.

Dunedin won the wettest main centre award, with at least 1mm of rain recorded on three of the 10 past Christmas Days.

HOT STUFF

Top temperatures on Christmas Day over past 10 years

Auckland – 24.2C in 2009

Tauranga – 24C in 2008, 2009

Hamilton – 26.2C in 2012

Wellington – 28.6C in 2012

Christchurch – 27.6C in 2005

Dunedin – 28.1C in 2009 ----

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