Kawerau Mayor Malcolm Campbell remembers November 3 well.
In Rotorua for the morning, Campbell recalls watching the temperature gauge climb as he made his way back to Kawerau.
"It was a scorcher," he said. "But we're used to that here."
On November 3 Kawerau recorded a whopping 34.6C – the country's third-highest November temperature on record.
According to Niwa climate scientists, New Zealand has just experienced its hottest November on record.
Data from Niwa's seven-station series, which began in 1909, shows that last month's temperature was 1.55C above the 30-year average.
The previous record for the hottest November on record was jointly reached in 1954 and 2013 when the temperature was 1.38C above average.
"Even in Rotorua that day I remember just about baking," Campbell said.
"But as we got closer to Kawerau the temperature just went up and up."
Campbell said Kawerau residents had always been aware the Eastern Bay town was one of the hottest places in the country.
"It's not unusual to be that hot [34.6]," Campbell said.
"I remember hitting 100F [37.77C] on several occasions back in the day.
"We are in a valley here and I think that has a big contribution toward the temperature."
Of the six main centres in November, Tauranga was the warmest, driest and sunniest.
Fire and Emergency New Zealand have most of the Bay of Plenty rated between high and extreme for scrub while forest and grass remain at either low or medium.
Steven Webb, principal rural fire officer, said the service was quietly preparing for a dry season.
"November was unusually hot and that does have an impact on vegetation," Webb said.
"While we know there will be rain too, it does mean things will dry out quicker after rain in the coming months."
He said there were a few fires in early November that, while not "news-breaking", were being used as an advisory for the fire service.
"There were a few fires around November 5 that surprised us simply because they had caught. That's not so common in early November."
Webb said organisations such as Scion and Niwa provided forecast information to the fire services.
"We are expecting it to be dry and we are preparing for this."
He said it was important to note the fire danger for scrub was extreme in some places.
"We encourage people to obtain permits where necessary and go to the fire service website for updated information."
The Bay of Plenty also held the fourth spot for November sunshine hours, recording 2420 hours.
Wider Nelson was first with 2584 hours, followed by Marlborough with 2529 hours and Hawke's Bay with 2476 hours.
November wasn't just notable for its warmth. On November 10 at least 66,000 lightning strikes were recorded around New Zealand and the Tasman Sea. There was also heavy hail falls in both islands including Kawerau.
In other weather-related news, simplification has seen Whakatāne wiped from the MetService website homepage.
The Eastern Bay town, once crowned the country's sunshine capital for three consecutive years, no longer features on the weather map after being culled in an upgrade by the state-owned company.
Rotorua and Tauranga retain their place on the homepage map but instead of being able to click on Whakatāne to find the forecast, users will need to use the search functionality.
A new feature allowing users to add favourite locations will also help.