It may have been an average summer so far, but Waikato is set for a balmy finish.
Predictions released by the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (Niwa) indicate the North Island, including Waikato, is likely to experience above-average temperatures over the next three months.
Rainfall is expected to be normal or above normal for January to March in the region, while soil moisture levels and river flows are predicted to be in the near normal range, Niwa's seasonal climate outlook report said.
Another report released by the research institute, looking at December's weather, showed Waikato failed to heat up as much as some other regions.
The average temperature for the month in five locations was at near-record highs.
The country's main centres, aside from Hamilton and Dunedin, were all treated to above-average temperatures.
Hamilton's mean average temperature of 16.9 degrees Celsius was in line with previous years and rainfall and sunshine were also normal, Niwa's December climate summary said.
However, other parts of Waikato were buffeted with periods of intense rain during the month.
Whitianga, on the Coromandel Peninsula, recorded 247 millimetres of rain in December, which was nearly 200 per cent more than usual.
And 91 per cent of that was recorded on just three days, including December 28, when flooding was reported across the peninsula.
Whatawhata, west of Hamilton, also recorded its highest day of rainfall since records began in 1952.
The nationwide average temperature for December was 16.6C - 1 degree above the 1971-2000 average for the month.
The highest temperature was 34.2C, recorded in Clyde on December 5.
- Waikato Times