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40 degree heat breaks record books

Timaru has broken the record for their hottest day ever with the temperature hitting a scorching 40.3 degrees in the shade shortly before 4pm today.

The extreme heat, which predicted yesterday, is connected to the same heat wave that saw Sydney climb to 42 degrees yesterday and then record their hottest night ever. says Timaru has hovered around 39 degrees for much of the day but peaked at 40.3, breaking their previous record of 39.7 degrees recorded in February 1973.

Image: The mercury doesn’t have much room at the top as this thermometer in Ashburton climbs to 42 in the sun / Zac Wilson

Weather analyst Richard Green says it was a similar Australian/New Zealand heatwave back in 1973 too.  “Sydney reached 27.6 as their overnight low last night, beating their record by a whole degree set in February 1973.  That same heat wave also hit Timaru in 1973 and again today that record has been broken by point six of a degree”.

The heat has been widespread too with readers reporting highs in the late 30s and around the 40 mark this afternoon across Canterbury.

Other centres to melt in the heat today were Christchurch, Alexandra, Ashburton, and Oamaru who all reached 36 officially, although private weather stations within Christrchurch were closer to 40. reported that Oamaru dropped 15 degrees in just 18 minutes as a southerly change moved through earlier this afternoon on it’s Facebook page.  The weather news authority says Timaru can expect to drop 20 degrees quite suddenly later this afternoon or early evening as that same southerly moves through.

Dunedin reached 35 degrees before the southerly while Gisborne and Blenheim reached 34.

Numerous other regions and cities were in the 30s and late 20s across the country with the coolest weather on the nations western and southern coastlines of both islands.

Auckland made it to 28 degrees with unofficial recordings reaching the low 30s across the region. says the cooler change will move in to the North Island on Monday and reach Auckland by Tuesday night lowering humidity levels too.

See a full run down of today’s official national highs from MetService




Ken Ring on 6/02/2011 9:49am

Nice to see some validation at last of moon cycles. 1973 was one of the wettest years in Australian history, 2x 19-yr moon cycles back. There was another big Australian cyclone then too, called TC Madge, and one in 1974 called Tracy that blew away Darwin. Madge’s path of Madge was like Yasi, and can be found here
Madge took some two weeks to finally cross the country from the NE to the W, keeping low pressure systems around the northern half of the country for at least a fortnight after its inception.
Another 19-yr cycle further back takes us to 1954, when yet another big cyclone hit Australia devastating the Northern Rivers district of NSW as well as the Gold Coast area of QLD and Brisbane. Lismore scored over 250mm of rain in one day.

Guest on 6/02/2011 9:00pm

Mr Ring

You vociferously claimed on the Farming Show before Xmas that Northland would have a very dry January, and in fact a long term drought.

Woudl you care to explain how you got it so wrong, given Northland has been pretty much breaking rainfall records for January?

Did the Moon shrink or something?

me on 6/02/2011 11:06pm

Hey noone no technology can fully predict the weather exactly .You can give a rough idea but thats about it to those idiots like this one who expect date and time and where is unrealistic so before you comment you want to think before you open your mouth or is that not possible for you? our weather experts ,enthusiasts, and people with skills like ken are just doing their best to get things right.Sometimes it wont be right and a lot of the time it will be….But if our weather people decided we have had enough criticism thats it and noone decided to share their expertise ….you would do even more complaining wouldnt you!!!!! how bout you try to get it right from isobaric maps,satellite images …..if your not better than someone else at something you should keep your mouth shut!

Tony on 7/02/2011 12:48am

Hang on a minute, we are talking here about a broad prediction in the period of months(s), not a specific day and date.

Not quite sure why such abusive comments are required, all that is being pointed out is that based on the recorded amounts of rainfall Mr Ring was wrong.

We are all wrong sometimes, and its only the folk with the greatest integrity who can admit it when they are.

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