Northland tourism operators are rubbing their hands in glee at above-average temperatures forecast for the rest of summer, hoping to cash in on domestic tourists out and about across the region.
Niwa's just-released outlook for the next three months predicted air temperatures were most likely to be hotter than normal, interspersed with localised heavy rainfall towards the end of summer as a result of more sub-tropical air flows.
Extended dry spells will likely continue between now until the end of March, coupled with the unsettled conditions as a result of the ongoing La Nina weather pattern.
Niwa predicts rainfall in Northland, soil moisture levels, and river flows are likely to be near normal over the three-month period.
Northland tourism leader Jeroen Jongejans said that as long as there wasn't much wind and odd night-time showers during summer, visitors would love to flock to the region.
"That kind of prediction by Niwa is good as the domestic tourism market is strong in Northland. I'd, however, prefer to have the odd shower to ensure we don't get too dry."
He said the next three weeks for Northland would be busy with domestic tourists and then the region would rely on visitors to head up north during the weekends.
Niwa forecaster Ben Noll said although it was a bit of a cooler start to this summer for the rest of the country, with temperatures 0.4C cooler than in the same time in December 2019, Northland would have been a warmer standout.
Northland, he said, could expect the mercury to hit high 20s in summer but that didn't mean every single day would be the same.
Extreme dry weather could, however, pose a risk of a drought, he said.
"We've seen the emergence of meteorological drought in the Aupōuri Peninsula and for the rest of Northland, it's going to be either very or extremely dry, with January and February likely to feature more extensive period of dry weather," Noll said.
"Those dry periods are likely to be interrupted by potential heavy rain where you could go for two weeks without any rain, followed by two days of rain."
Noll said the La Nina weather pattern could increase chances of heavy rain but people such as farmers should not get their hopes too high.
"While summer could end up with near-normal rainfall, it could be anything but normal, distribution wise," he said.
Northland Federated Farmers acting dairy chairman Matt Long said the little rain that fell in Whangārei yesterday
would stop paddocks from drying out but the grass wouldn't grow much.
"One good thing is we've had good grass growth in November, unlike the previous season, so farmers have silage and hay and depending on how long the dry weather continues, they may have enough feed to get them through this summer."
Judging from the price band Fonterra gave farmers and the last dairy auction, Long said the 2020/21 dairy payout looked likely to be more than $7 per kilogram of milk solids.