A variable weather pattern has MetService speculating over the extent of rain which will fall in Hawke's Bay this week, as the region gets some respite from the dry spell which farmers fear may lead to drought later in the year.

A MetService forecast said a low was expected to cross the upper North Island from the north Tasman Sea late tomorrow and early on Thursday, before moving away to the east.

It would would likely bring a period of rain to much of the North Island, as well as a change to cooler southerly winds, the forecast said, but there was only "low confidence" for "rainfall accumulations" tomorrow, and "moderate confidence" of heavy rain on Thursday and early Friday.

With 16mm of rain in the last week, Napier had by early last night had 21.6mm this month, and Hastings, with almost 20mm in the last week, had 27.2mm for the month - in each case still less than a third of the historical June average.


Rainfall for the year in the twin cities was still just over half of the average.

The rainfall at the Takapau Plains recording station was less than a quarter of the average for January to June, and at Mahia rainfall for the year was still less than half the average for the year to date, although there had been 55mm this month.

In Dannevirke, there had been about 57mm this month, which is down on the June average of 96mm. But there had been about 625mm this year, which compares with a January-June average of about 660mm.

No rain was forecast for today in Napier-Hastings and Northern Hawke's Bay, where temperatures up to 18C were predicted, but occasional showers were being forecast for the Dannevirke area.