12 Jan 2016

Weather in 2015 - a year of records

10:20 am on 12 January 2016

Last year was a particularly dry year for New Zealand with many places setting records for high temperatures and sunshine hours.

NIWA's annual climate summary shows rainfall levels were well below average for much of the country due to the influence of the El Nino weather pattern.

Rainfall levels were 50 to 79 percent of the usual for much of the country, including Northland, Tasman, Canterbury and Wellington - which had its second driest year on record.

Dry farm land in Wairarapa, east of Masterton.

Dry farm land in Wairarapa, east of Masterton. Photo: RNZ / Alexander Robertson

Kaitaia and Kerikeri recorded their driest years, along with Hanmer Forest where rainfall of 579mm was barely half the norm.

A number of places had their sunniest year - including Turangi, Greymouth, and Lake Tekapo - where there were over 2700 sunshine hours.

Timaru had the hottest day, with the mercury hitting 34.6°C. Meanwhile near Dunedin, Tara Hills recorded its lowest temperature - 21°C.

Of the six main centres, for 2015 , Auckland was the warmest, Tauranga was the sunniest, Christchurch was the driest, Hamilton was the wettest and cloudiest, and Dunedin was the coldest

NIWA's principal scientist in forecasting Chris Brandolino told Summer Report El Nino would drive the climate for the next two or three months.

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