6 Sep 2014

Climate report shows unusual winter

8:31 pm on 6 September 2014

NIWA's climate experts say it was a "extraordinarily warm" start to winter this year, with temperatures 0.5 to 1.2 degrees Celsius above normal.

Of the six main centres, Auckland was the warmest and wettest over last winter.

Of the six main centres, Auckland was the warmest and wettest over last winter. Photo: PHOTO NZ

The National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA)'s winter climate summary shows that despite June 2014 being the warmest since records began in 1909, average temperatures in July and August meant that winter was only 0.8°C warmer than usual.

It was particularly wet for Northland, with Kaikohe - located between the Hokianga Harbour and Bay of Islands - recording more than three-quarters of its annual rainfall over the season.

Flooding over SH1 North of Whangarei.

Last winter, Northland experienced rainfall well above normal levels. Photo: RNZ / Lois Williams

NIWA forecaster Chris Brandolino said despite cold outbreaks, there were no sustained periods of cold weather.

"It started off very warm. A lot of the rain came - like bananas - in bunches. August was very wet. Places like Kerikeri, of the top three rainiest days, received two of them."

Mr Brandolino said there were not many sustained cold outbreaks - rather, there were 'one-offs' of extreme cold.

This, along with a record-breaking June, meant that snow-making machines were rendered ineffective and many ski fields were forced to delay their opening.

Higher pressure than normal over New Zealand and to the west of the country meant there was an abnormal westerly flow across most of the country, except in the northernmost areas, where an easterly flow prevailed.

These anomalous windflows contributed to rainfall well above normal levels throughout Northland, and below normal in many eastern areas.

Of the six main centres, Auckland was the warmest and wettest, Tauranga the sunniest, Dunedin the driest, Wellington the cloudiest and Christchurch the coolest.

Weather extremes for winter 2014

  • Hottest: Christchurch, 2 August - 23.6°C
  • Coldest: Lake Tekapo, 16 July - -9.8°C
  • Windiest: Cape Turnagain, 10 June - 191km/hr
  • Wettest: Chiltern (Coromandel Peninsula), 10 June - 229mm
  • Sunniest so far this year: Whakatane (1793 hours), Tauranga (1622 hours), Nelson (1557 hours) and Lake Tekapo (1554 hours).

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