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Weather: Hottest day of summer so far forecast for New Zealand tomorrow, 34C high in South Island

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The hottest day of this summer is set to scorch New Zealand tomorrow, with a possibility of a 34C high in places.

The National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (Niwa) is predicting the hottest day of the summer so far to strike tomorrow, with multiple regions in the South Island to reach temperatures of 30C-plus.

“Our high-resolution model is picking maximum temperatures of around 34C in the inland South Island,” Niwa said.

The high temperatures will form part of a hot and sticky lead-up to Christmas Day, as humid air is dragged across New Zealand from the warm waters to our north.

“This humidity looks to linger around our shores in the lead up to Christmas so it will likely be worth getting the fans out and knowing that the heat may be playing a part in your sweaty end of year stress,” MetService meteorologist Lewis Ferris said.

While the warmest temperatures have been recorded in the North Island to start the week, the heat will move to the south and east of the South Island tomorrow.

MetService earlier reported Alexandra is set to be the pick of the regions with a forecast high of 32C.

Christchurch is also forecast to reach 30C on Wednesday and Thursday.

“We’re approaching the summer solstice, so the nights are very short which reduces the body’s ability to recover from the heat. Something to be wary of as we head through this week as we may issue heat alerts in the coming days,” Ferris said.

While conditions are expected to be generally settled around the country this week, a low-pressure system passing south midweek is likely to bring some rain and wind to the deep south on Wednesday and Thursday.

‘Huge plumes of smoke’ heading for NZ

Meanwhile, smoke from Australia’s bushfires is drifting towards New Zealand and could make for hazy skies over Christmas and New Year in a possible repeat of the apocalypse-like scenes of 2019-20.

Niwa said the bushfires were sending “huge plumes of smoke” across the Tasman Sea.

It said Kiwis shouldn’t be surprised to see hazy skies and unusually colourful sunsets over the next week.

A giant out-of-control blaze in northern New South Wales (NSW) has been fuelling dangerous fire-generated thunderstorms and residents are being told to shelter from the inferno.

The fire has burned through more than 130,000 hectares and authorities have warned that embers are being blown well ahead of its front, causing a danger to homes.

Sixty-three fires were burning across the state this morning, including 15 that were yet to be contained.

MetService has partnered with Fire and Emergency NZ (FENZ) to provide real-time fire danger and fire season information alongside daily weather forecasts.

“98 per cent of wildfires in New Zealand are caused by people,” it said.

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