Weather Video: Your weekend forecast + a look at Christmas Day!

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As we head into the weekend we’re back to the daily downpours through inland areas of both islands.

They kick off on Saturday, expand on Sunday and then by Monday a cold front sweeps in with some patchy rain or showers.

Earliest sunrises of the year upon us but latest sunsets still weeks away

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Planet Earth is not perfectly round. In fact it was Isaac Newton who first correctly suggested that Earth was a sphere that is squashed at its poles and bulges out at the equator. 

Just what exactly is a heatwave? Here's how it is defined:

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New Zealand has recently had a heatwave - and now a large portion of Australia is being affected by heatwave conditions this week. But are heatwaves worth all the attention, or are they just normal summer weather? And can a heatwave be relative to where you are? Weatherzone digs down and explains:

NZ's weather pattern shifting a bit more 'spring-like' as we head towards Christmas

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The weather pattern around New Zealand is changing a little and that means more variety in the weather. The main change is a lack of high pressure to the east of the country - this will allow inland downpours to drift further east and allow air flows from the south to also move in easier across the South Island.

Weather Video: More variety in the forecast up until Christmas

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A more spring-like weather pattern is returning to New Zealand as we head into the second half of December and that means more variety in wind directions, temperatures and dry and wet weather.

Heavy showers in both islands today with a chance of severe thunder in the north east

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Today is one of the better days of the week for downpours with daytime heating contributing to some big cloud build-ups in both islands and therefore some solid showers too.

Already this morning Timaru has had a heavy downpour and there's a chance an isolated one may brush western Auckland.

Next two weeks: More hot & dry but an increase in wet weather for some areas

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There's no hiding from the fact it's incredibly dry in parts of the country but over the second half of December there will be a bit more 'life' in the weather maps.

Since November high pressure has mainly dominated in the New Zealand area with little movement and little change in wind flows.

Weather Video: We track the wet weather this week + the first Xmas day outlook!

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We have some wet weather around a few regions of New Zealand today and tomorrow as a very weak southerly flow moves northwards. has had some great reports for farmers desperate for rain getting enough overnight for puddles to form.

Cooler air for Wednesday but still warmer than average for many (+2 Maps)

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The southerly flow spreading up the country continues into Wednesday with temperatures dropping to more normal, refreshing, levels for many.

Those most affected by the cooler air will be in southern and eastern facing regions of both islands.

However there will still be a significant portion of New Zealand that remains 2 to 8 degrees above average.

Droughts are not 'declared' - so what makes a drought 'Official'?

Filed in: head forecaster Philip Duncan speaks with the Ministry for Primary Industries to make sense of it all.

Parts of New Zealand are very dry now, which is concerning many farmers and growers up and down the country with many asking us if we are going into a drought.

But what actually is a drought and who decides if we are in one?