Hastings basked in some of the highest temperatures in the country at the weekend, but the balmy conditions across the region are set to cool off this week, accompanied by sporadic showers.

MetService figures showed that Hastings recorded a high of 20.8C on Saturday, dipping slightly to a high of 19.8C on Sunday, followed closely by Napier which reached a high of 19.4C on Saturday.

The spring-like weather came courtesy of a west to northwest wind blowing over the North Island but the highs were set to reduce to around to between 14 and 16C this week.

MetService meteorologist Tui McInnes said a frontal system set to come down over the country would bring rain to most of the North Island today, hitting Hawke's Bay in the afternoon.

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"There will be a bit of cloud in the morning followed by scattered rain which will clear in the evening with the wind coming from the northwest."

A similar pattern was expected to be seen on Tuesday and Wednesday as well but today was forecast to be the wettest.

"With this system coming over us the temperatures will go down a bit but it won't be too drastic."

It was typical early spring weather said weatherwatch.co.nz head forecaster Philip Duncan.

"Spring weather patterns are like mixing a bath full of water. Winter is mostly the cold tap running but in early spring someone turns on the hot water and we get occasional moments with a warm current as it's all mixed up.

"The later we go through spring the more 'warm water' we add to the mix. Spring fades out in November and December as summer conditions usually arrive by then."

He said it was now at the point of year where several days of "brutally cold weather" in a row was less likely than just two weeks ago, but with spring weather conditions only just starting (and a long spring season still ahead) the risk of sudden snow storms, cold snaps and frosts remained across the country.

He added, however, that this week in 2011 a major historic snow event produced heavy snow in downtown Dunedin, Christchurch and Wellington and isolated snow flurries even into Auckland City.

"That took a particularly huge high pressure system (anticyclone) over Tasmania, Australia, stretching north to south to create, coupled with a low southeast of Dunedin. The two air pressure systems worked together to dredge up a historical Antarctic blast for New Zealand."
At this stage none of WeatherWatch's long range data suggested there was a major wintry event coming for all of New Zealand within the next week or so, but it could still happen if the right conditions converged.

"We may have signs of an early spring, but wintry weather remains right on our southern door step and could impact us without much warning - it's down to the chaos of the highs and lows."