The sun is sticking around in Rotorua for the start of the new year with peak temperatures expected to stay in the mid-20s for the first week-and-a-half at least.

The high was 26C on January 1, and 25C yesterday , and the MetService predicts the district's temperatures to continue to climb to between 23C and 26C for the next week.

The weekend should be fine throughout, but today there is a chance of isolated afternoon showers, and these may return from next Tuesday.

MetService forecaster Claire Flynn said the short bursts of rain will not hinder the warm temperatures.

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"The showers are actually caused by the warm weather. As the ground heats up, warm air rises, cools and condenses as it gets higher, forming clouds and convectional precipitation," she told the Rotorua Daily Post.

The Acton family - Lucy 5, Ella, 7, Carl and Andrea - were among those out enjoying the warmth at the Rotorua Lakefront yesterday. Photo / Andrew Warner
The Acton family - Lucy 5, Ella, 7, Carl and Andrea - were among those out enjoying the warmth at the Rotorua Lakefront yesterday. Photo / Andrew Warner

New Zealand Meteorological Society member and Springfield Weather Observations scientist Brian Holden has been recording Rotorua's daily weather for 17 years.

Holden's recordings show Rotorua was warmer and wetter than normal in 2018.

The average temperature in Rotorua was 0.2C above normal last year, at 13.3C.

The total rainfall was 1975mm, well above the 1587mm norm, but it was still drier than 2017.

Holden uses past measurements from 1961 to 2013 to determine the "normal" observations in Rotorua.

His station is based in Utuhina Rd, Springfield.

Holden's measurements show January, May and December were warmer than normal. January was warmer by 2C.

Holden said in the past 50 years Rotorua had experienced an average temperature increase of almost 1.5C.

"While this is not hard evidence that our part of the globe is part of the whole global warming scenario, it certainly does support the theory."

Rotorua's average temperatures since 1964. Image / Supplied
Rotorua's average temperatures since 1964. Image / Supplied

Holden recorded about 35 frosts last year, including nine in June and 12 in July.

February, April, and December had twice as much rain as normal.

The highest 24-hour rainfall in 20 years was recorded on April 29, during the Rotorua floods, with a total of 117mm.

The highest 24-hour rainfall in 20 years was recorded on April 29 last year, during the Rotorua floods, with a total of 117mm. Photo / Ben Fraser
The highest 24-hour rainfall in 20 years was recorded on April 29 last year, during the Rotorua floods, with a total of 117mm. Photo / Ben Fraser

Rotorua is typically one of the least windy places in the country.

The strongest winds recorded in the city in 2018 were 75km/h on January 5.

The coldest air temperature was -4C recorded on July 25, and the hottest was 32.5C on January 27.