4 Jul 2012

June an unusually dry month for parts of NZ

7:22 pm on 4 July 2012

Latest climate figures show last month was unusually dry in parts of the North Island and South Canterbury, with three towns posting their driest June on record.

Statistics from the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA) also show it was extremely wet in the upper South Island.

June is traditionally a very wet month in the North Island, but Whangarei, Rotorua and Whakatane registered their driest June on record.

However, rainfall in Christchurch and Nelson was double the normal amount.

NIWA climate scientist Georgina Griffiths says June was also notable for some crisp frosts and heavy snow in Canterbury caused by several high pressure ridges.

It was also a particularly sunny month in the lower South Island and Queenstown and Cromwell had their sunniest Junes on record.

Ms Griffiths says June's extreme weather was one out of the box, but does not think climate change is responsible.

"That's just New Zealand's standard weather for what we can experience in our highly volatile climate - more southwesterlies during the month, a couple of snowfall events, some ridges brought extreme frosty conditions, and record low temperatures in many places."

The highest temperature was 22.0 degrees Celsius, observed at Wairoa on 6 June, while the lowest temperature -11.8°C, at Darfield on 7 June.

The highest one-day rainfall experienced was 151 millimetres at Greymouth on 5 June and the highest gust recorded was 161 km/h at Taiaroa Head on 28 June.

Of the six main centres in June 2012, Auckland was the warmest, Auckland and Hamilton the sunniest, Christchurch the coolest, Tauranga the driest, and Wellington the wettest and cloudiest.