Forecast frosty temperatures throughout much of Hawke's Bay were expected to signal the start of a return to the warmer, drier conditions in the region until the rain on Wednesday and Thursday.

MetService was last night forecasting a sunny day, and a maximum of 15C in Napier-Hastings, improving during the week, leading into at least four days of sunny weather and maximum temperatures hitting close to 20C by midweek, with no rain forecast before Thursday.

But longer term, there is some hope for farmers still wanting more rain, in the Niwa National Climate Centre's seasonal climate outlook for July-September.

Released yesterday, it says there is a 70 per cent chance that temperatures in Hawke's Bay would continue above average, but 40 per cent chance of rainfall being about normal, or a 35 per cent chance of it being above normal.


The forecasts follow what a two-day drought-breaker which brought more than 40mm of rain to most parts of Hawke's Bay, although for many June was at least the fourth month in a row and the seventh since last September that monthly rainfall was below the historic averages, calculated over the past 30 years.

According to unofficial figures, there were 49mm of rain in June at Hawke's Bay Airport, 63mm in Hastings, 126mm at Mahia, and 69mm in Dannevirke, Napier and Hastings having each started the last week with less than 10mm for the month.

The heaviest one-day rainfall this week at more than 60 sites monitored by the regional council was the 63mm on Wednesday at Pukeorapa Station northeast of Wairoa, a station which has an average of over 2600mm of rain a year and which had 439mm last September, a drought breaker which resulted in the wettest September in about 20 years for much of Hawke's Bay.

Meanwhile, another meeting of grower and farmer groups, East Coast Rural Support Trust, Hawke's Bay Regional Council and Ministry for Primary Industries was held this week to get an update on the dry conditions around Hawke's Bay.

Federated Farmers provincial president Will Foley, of Takapau, said: "It's been a long difficult autumn and the rainfall this week is a huge relief and morale boost for farmers.

"Although it will create feed challenges in the short term, in the long term the rain will be helpful for spring pasture levels."

HBRC's climate scientist Dr Kathleen Kozyniak said that after a period of barely 100mm in the four months to Tuesday night, as low as 35 per cent of average in many areas, the rain over the last few days was a "game changer" for the region.

July usually produces the heaviest rainfall of the year in much of Hawke's Bay, and Dr Kozyniak said: "More rain is likely next week."