9 Sep 2009

Winter a season of extremes

5:53 am on 9 September 2009

Winter began with record low temperatures and ended on record highs.

The National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research has released its climate summary for winter.

Climate scientist Georgina Griffiths says temperatures in May fell to 2 degrees celsius below average, June and July were 1°C below, but August was 1.7°C above average.

Freezing cold southerlies, snow and frost were felt across much of the country in June.

But northerly winds meant the second half of August was particularly warm, with Timaru recording the warmest temperature at 22.2°C .

NIWA says Gisborne had the highest one-day rainfall. A Civil Defence emergency was put in place when 205 millimetres fell in late June.

Tornadoes damaged properties in Kaitaia, Cromwell and Opunake, while high winds and heavy rain caused havoc in Gisborne, Northland, Wellington and Wairarapa in July.

Of the six main centres, Auckland was the warmest and Christchurch was the coldest.