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Niwa's latest seasonal climate outlook, for January to March, also predicts near normal rainfall for the region, though there is an equal chance there could be more than the normal levels of rainfall in the west of the South Island.
Soil moisture levels and river flows are forecast to be in the near normal range across the South Island.
Sea surface temperatures, which are presently much warmer than average around New Zealand, are forecast to continue and Niwa says this was likely to be a dominant driver of New Zealand's climate.
For inland Otago and Southland there is a 45% chance temperatures will be near average and a 40% chance they will be above average in January, February and March.
Rainfall totals are about equally likely to be near normal (40% chance) or above normal (35% chance).
Soil moisture levels and river flows are most likely to be in the near normal range (45%-50% chance).
For eastern Otago, temperatures are about equally likely to be above average (45% chance) or near average (40% chance), and rainfall totals, soil moisture levels and river flows are all mostly likely to be in the near normal range (45%-50% chance).