Are we in for a short winter?
It's hard to believe Wednesday is the first day of winter - and if you celebrate the start of winter on June 22 when it's the winter solstice it's still hard to believe that conditions are so mild around the country despite the shortest day being just three weeks away.
While the coldest weather usually kicks in after the shortest day (just as our hottest weather is in the month or two after the longest day shortly before Christmas) - we should still be experiencing much colder conditions than we're currently getting.
So does a late start to winter mean a late end? No. In fact it's highly possible a late winter could have an early ending if the conditions that softened it's beginning remain across the season.
This year it's the run of highs over southern Australia and east of NZ that have helped drive in mild winds from the northerly quarter.
Next week we see a front coming through with the classic nor'wester preceding it followed by a much colder sou'wester. It's possible the change at the end of next week will be a wintry one for much of New Zealand.
We expect winter 2011 to be a mixture of warm and cold spells this year, rather than one constant weather pattern (eg, La Nina which brings plenty of nor'easters). This new sou'west change, coming next week, could bring snow to the ranges of both islands - and we'll keep you up to date as it gets closer to arriving (ETA is currently mid to late next week).
- Homepage image / Alison Metherell