December warmer than usual

December in New Zealand was warmer than usual with several temperature records broken.

A summary for the month from the National Institute of Water & Atmospheric Research said the average temperature nationally was 16.7 degrees - up 1.1 degrees on the previous record set in 2000.

The highest temperature was 34.5 degrees recorded in Gisborne on 19 December, while Motu in the Ureweras had the coldest temperature with -1.7 degrees on 1 December.

Soils were much drier than usual by the end of December in Bay of Plenty, Hawke's Bay, Taranaki, coastal Waikato, Nelson, parts of Canterbury and central Southland.

Next story in National: Great Walks not fully used