Put another few cold ones in the fridge. A hot Christmas Day is expected for most of the country and it will be a sweaty one in store for holidaymakers in the north.

There was good news for those in fear of Cyclone Evan's tail. WeatherWatch head analyst Philip Duncan said the big storm's aftermath would not be as intense as earlier feared.

In the lead-up to Christmas, rain or showers were likely this evening in the upper North Island, especially along the coast from Northland to Gisborne.

The remnants of Evan were expected to shift west into the Tasman tomorrow.


Duncan said there was a risk of some drizzle patches around the northeastern side of the South Island on Christmas Eve.

However, a high pressure system in the south will bring settled conditions to most of the mainland over the public holidays.

On Boxing Day, Evan would run out of steam. "There could be some coastal clouds. It is the land of the long white cloud at the moment, that's for sure."

Duncan said it would be either hot and dry or hot and humid on Christmas Day, depending on where you were.

MetService also pointed out heavy rain was possible late today and tomorrow for Northland, northern parts of Auckland, Coromandel Peninsula, the western Bay of Plenty and northern Gisborne.

"Northland, in particular, may receive bursts of very heavy rain as the low passes by, in addition to a risk of southeast winds reaching severe gale," MetService warned.

Duncan also advised holiday campers not to pitch tents near streams because sporadic rain in the north could make streams rise quickly.

Weather conditions also indicated a risk of dangerous rips at most major tourist centres in the upper north island, especially Northland.