Rainy period ahead of a fine, dry Christmas Day

ALEXIA JOHNSTON
Last updated 05:00 20/12/2012

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South Canterbury's last-minute Christmas shoppers are advised to keep an umbrella close at hand over the next few days.

"Patchy drizzle" will cover the district from Saturday to Monday, but is expected to clear for a lovely Christmas Day, MetService forecaster Brooke Lockhart said.

"For the next few days it's going to be cloudy at times with patchy drizzle.

"But for Christmas Day, at the moment, we're expecting it to be dry with light winds. At the moment we're forecasting a maximum of 25 degrees."

Ms Lockhart said it was too far out to predict what South Canterbury could expect for the new year.

MetService forecasters are also monitoring Cyclone Evan over the coming days. Ms Lockhart said the cyclone, which has caused severe damage in Samoa and Fiji, meant the North Island's weather was uncertain at this stage.

"But it won't be a cyclone once it reaches New Zealand. It will have weakened right off," Ms Lockhart said.

MetService chief forecaster Peter Kreft said it was likely Evan would pass close to northern parts of the country.

"Evan's path through the New Zealand area this weekend is even less clear than it was yesterday.

"But as Evan draws closer to the country over the next couple of days, we would expect to be able to say more.

"It is a very long time since there's been so much uncertainty over the track of a low through the New Zealand area."

However, forecasters expect Evan will bring a large amount of tropical air over the country, which could bring heavy rain in places with strong winds.

"Currently, MetService is forecasting rain this weekend for the northern half of the North Island."

Mr Kreft said it was important people kept up with the forecasts and warnings during the next few days.

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