Like much of the country March was a dry month for Whanganui with many parts of the region's soil classed as dry to very dry.
Niwa meteorologist, Seth Carrier, said earlier in the month parts of Whanganui, especially towards the Ruapehu region were in meteorological drought and in some areas, severe drought.
"In the second half of March there was big improvement and while soils are still drier then normal, things are still a lot better then they were say a month or even three or four weeks ago," he said.
The full month's rainfall collected at the MetService station at Whanganui Airport recorded 35mm which is 71 per cent of normal.
Further inland, the full month's rainfall collected at Niwa's station at Spriggens Park recorded 23mm which is only 37 per cent of normal, Carrier said.
The New Zealand average was below normal, in particular, the upper North Island, Hawke's Bay, Tasman, Nelson, much of Marlborough and large parts of Otago.
While rainfall was below normal for the month, Carrier said temperatures were near average.
Whanganui's hottest temperature was 28.5C recorded on March 3.
As autumn sets in, Carrier said the sun is not as high in the sky and the radiation from the sun is not as strong meaning there is less moisture that is leaving the ground.
"So even if we're not getting quite enough rainfall less moisture is able to leave the ground because we're not seeing as much sun and I think that's another factor why soils have been improving over the last few weeks. "
He said Whanganui could expect to have a dry Easter up until Monday where there is between 25-30mm of rainfall forecast.
"There's going to be a fairly strong area of low pressure that's going to be crossing over the South Island to bring some decent rain for the North Island."
For the rest of the month Carrier said Whanganui could expect near average rainfall.
"With increasing westerlies, Whanganui would be in a good spot to get some decent rainfall."
And over the next three months, temperatures are expected to be near average or above average.
"Especially as we're getting closer to winter doesn't mean we're not going to have a few days here and there that are chilly, maybe we will have a few nights with frosts."