Christmas forecast takes turn for the worse

STACEY KIRK
Last updated 14:14 21/12/2012

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Christmas Eve is in danger of becoming a windswept washout for Auckland and top holiday spots the Coromandel Peninsula and Northland, as the remnants of Tropical Cyclone Evan bear down on the country.

By Christmas Day the weather is expected to have improved somewhat, but still be unsettled for many parts of the country.

MetService said a deep low that was formerly Evan was about 1000km northeast of North Cape about 1pm and moving slowly south.

During the weekend it was expected to swing southwest towards the North Island, passing not  far from North Cape on Christmas Eve.

Heavy rain falls were likely in Northland on Sunday and Monday, and on Monday in the northern part of Auckland, Coromandel and western Bay of Plenty, and in the Gisborne district north of about Ruatoria.

Winds over Northland and possibly Auckland were expected to be strong or gale northeasterlies.

"Evan will bring a large amount of tropical air over New Zealand, which means the potential for heavy rainfall in places with strong onshore winds," MetService chief forecaster Peter Kreft said.

By Christmas Day, Evan would be over the Tasman Sea, maintaining a warm, humid northerly flow over much of the country.

"Many New Zealanders will find the air very muggy. Rain over northern New Zealand will should have eased but not be completely cleared, however, rain is likely to spread into Nelson and the West Coast of the South Island. The driest places are likely to be in the east from Wairarapa to Canterbury," Kreft said.

Christmas Day should be warm and not particularly windy in most places.

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