14 Jan 2010

Temperature extremes in 2009

7:25 am on 14 January 2010

New Zealand experienced extreme temperature swings in 2009 - as heat waves in January and early February were followed by the coolest May on record.

The National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research released weather statistics for last year on Wednesday.

NIWA climate scientist James Renwick says wild swings in temperature were sometimes only days apart.

The highest temperature of the year was 38 degrees Celsius recorded in Culverden, North Canterbury, on 8 February.

Despite it being a particularly snowy winter, Dr Renwick says August was the warmest on record. Auckland recorded a temperature of 25.5 degrees Celsius during the month.

Aoraki/Mt Cook recorded the highest one-day rainfall in the country of 341mm on 27 April, though Wellington took the crown for being the wettest city overall in 2009.

Nelson was the sunniest centre in 2009, recording 2571 hours, followed by Tauranga with 2540 hours, then Blenheim with 2477 hours.

Christchurch was the driest city.