Despite a mild winter, unusually wet weather – including a hail storm – has ensured a soggy start to spring in Northland.
And Niwa is expecting cool, damp conditions to continue for the next couple of months before trans-Tasman winds bring warmer temperatures around November.
Niwa meteorologist Ben Noll said winter had seen temperatures hover near or above average.
The average maximum temperature in Whangārei during winter was 16.7C - the third warmest since records began in 1967.
On July 4, the overnight minimum temperature in Whangārei was 16.7C which was the second highest on record, Kerikeri the third warmest at 16.9C, Kaitaia 17C while 16C was recorded at Cape Reinga.
Rain between June and August was below normal and Whangārei, with just 268mm or 63 per cent of normal rainfall in winter of 428mm, the worst affected of all places throughout Northland.
Kerikeri had 446mm or 83 per cent of normal rainfall and Kaitaia 379mm compared with the normal amount of 434mm.
Dargaville, however, bucked the trend and had 385mm or 104 per cent over the normal of 371mm.
Noll said spring got off to a very wet start for some areas that received more than 100mm of rain so far in September, especially in the Far North.
"That has to do with active weather and the frequent low pressure which is bringing a lot of moisture from the Tasman Sea to the top of the North Island.
"There's also a clash of warm air from the Tasman with chilly weather from the south."
Noll said in the first nine days of September, Kaitaia received 117mm of rain as opposed to an average of 105mm for the whole of that month.
"Northland has been on the run over many months of above average temperatures and the spring is a step down from that with cooler, sometimes southerly flows. It's going to be a cool and damp spring for Northland," he said.
The size of the hail stones on Monday caught Northlanders by surprise.
Onerahi resident Helen Smuts-Kennedy had gone home for lunch and was standing on her deck when hail stones came thumping down.
"It was over as quickly as it began but it was quite fierce. I thought they'd come through the roof. It was really loud and hard," she said.
Her terrified dog started hyperventilating and shaking and Smuts-Kennedy said it took the canine an hour to calm down.
She said each hail stone was at least 1cm across.
Northern Advocate photographer Tania Whyte lives at Reotahi and said she had never experienced hail stones fall with such ferocity in Northland.
"It was one hell of a noise... felt like someone throwing rocks on your house. I've just come back from snow down at Ohakune and it seemed we had worse weather up here than down there," she said.
Whyte said her cat was running in and out of the house in fear.
MetService has ruled out further hail storms this week.
A low pressure system and a slow-moving front over the upper North Island that brought periods of heavy rain and isolated thunderstorms was expected to weaken last night.
MetService meteorologist Andy Best daytime temperatures would hover around 14C, dropping down to 11C overnight with isolated showers throughout this week.
Rain is forecast for Saturday morning but it should clear in the afternoon.
Highest overnight minimum temperatures on July 4:
* Whangarei 16.7C
* Kerikeri 16.9C
* Cape Reinga 16C
* Kaitaia 17C