Cyclone Evan has a Christmas gift for the lower North Island that sadly cannot be returned - hot, humid, and rainy weather that should return for New Year's Eve.
A weaker form of the cyclone that brought havoc to Samoa and Fiji was due near Northland over the Christmas break, MetService forecaster Larissa Marintchenko said.
While it spared the lower North Island, it was sending "warm, humid, tropical air" south, along with a band of rain.
Each day leading up to and including Boxing Day in Wellington would be cloudy, drizzly, with occasional fine spells, and temperatures up to 26 degrees Celsius.
"It's going to be very warm and humid and moist."
Manawatu, Taupo, and Taranaki would follow a similar pattern.
Hawke's Bay, languishing in dry conditions, was also due for some showers, which could become heavy on Monday - though they would mostly be around the ranges.
Rain would ease on Tuesday but it would stay humid, with Christmas Day reaching up to 28C and Boxing Day up to 30C.
Chief forecaster Peter Kreft said the driest places on Christmas Day were likely to be in the east from Wairarapa to Canterbury.
Weatherwatch.co.nz head weather analyst Philip Duncan said the same sort of weather was expected to be back on New Year's Eve across the lower North Island.
The same forecast system that two weeks ago predicted Evan tracking across Northland, showed that we would be between two highs, "making us more vulnerable to a tropical low" on New Year's Eve.
However, he said, it was "definitely not locked in" to be sunny or settled.
He backed MetService's forecast for rain in the coming few days, pointing out that, while many would be disappointed, farmers would be happy.
"Hawke's Bay is getting close to drought if it doesn't get some rain soon," he said. Other rural areas were also dry.
For the rest of summer in the central and lower North Island, Niwa predicts temperatures to be near or below average. Rainfall was expected to be near normal.
- Fairfax Media