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South Islanders could be in for more scorching weather as a high looks set to bring warm, dry conditions for the rest of the summer.
Temperatures reached the mid-30s yesterday as a heatwave blanketed the South Island, bringing near record temperatures to several areas including Otago and Southland, where highs of 35degC were recorded.
More of the same for the south was possible, said Weatherwatch.co.nz analyst Richard Green.
"That sort of heat is potentially in the wings again - that could take place on one or two more occasions before the end of summer," he said.
The hot air was moving across the Tasman from Australia where residents have been battling fires as record temperatures brought sweltering heat.
Most of New Zealand could expect warm settled weather until the end of February - a distant memory from the wet, cold conditions that plagued holidaymakers last summer, said Mr Green.
By Wednesday, warm and windy conditions were likely for most of the country, with temperatures in the mid to late 20s. A ridge of high pressure moving over both sides the country at the end of the week would deliver settled, warm weather for the weekend.
Aucklanders and Northland residents however, may be affected by more humidity with levels expected to rise next week, he said.
There was also good news for the rest of January and into February.
"Still, there's potential for some very hot temperatures but moving up a bit - not just the south of the South Island."
Hot north westerly winds were likely to bring hot weather, particularly to traditional hotspots and central and eastern areas of the country such as Central Otago, Mackenzie Country, central North Island and Gisborne.
"In comparing this summer and last this one is considerably drier, sunnier and a little warmer."
The risk had dropped for Cyclone Freda, which struck the Solomon Islands last month, to head towards New Zealand, said Mr Green.