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Blog: Highs “lining up” for New Zealand

What do you think of when you think of January?  Many New Zealanders think of sun, surf, sand, BBQs, ice cold beer and good white wine – but this summer has so far been a mixture of rain, cold, some heat and spring like winds.

But as we now officially move into the second half of summer (don’t get too depressed, March is usually summer-like too) the weather is only now starting to finally settle down – but don’t get too complacent. says there are numerous highs lining up to cross the country.  What does that mean?  Well highs usually bring lighter winds, hotter weather and less rain.  Coastal areas tend to get some cloud – as we saw on Monday – but overall the trend is for drier, warmer, weather for the rest of January.

But some models are showing yet another spring-like cold snap arriving this weekend.

In November exclusively predicted spring conditions would last until the end of the year – but now it’s looking as though they may last through much of January as our weak-summer tries to get going.

In spring we also exclusively predicted an increased risk of an ex-tropical cyclone this summer, due to La Nina, which we received just weeks after our prediction.  Ex-cyclone Fina brought flooding to parts of New Zealand in December but the good news is that for the rest of January says we will most likely be tropical cyclone free thanks to the incoming highs.

This weekend a cold snap looks likely to move into the lower South Island and may spread further north next Monday ahead of another high which should see us through until near the end of January.  Some parts of the deep south may struggle to even make the teens and another light dusting of snow is also possible on the hill tops. 

Either way, there’s still plenty of work for weather forecasters as summer continues to act like a child in the terrible twos – grumpy, unpredictable and doing its best at controlling everyone else.

– Homepage image – The sounds of summer, Peter Buck

– Blog by head weather analyst Philip Duncan


Guest on 17/01/2012 12:50am

Lets be frank, weather forecasting has been rubbish over the last few weeks. 2 weeks ago I headed down for the half ironman in tauranga armed with a doom and gloom forecast. We had 2.5 out of 3.5 days of fine weather, not a cloud in the sky for much of it finally raining at lunchtime on the saturday. End of last week headed down to Waihi Beach with another gloom filled forecast including heavy rain for the Friday. Never materialised and we had the majority of 4 days with fine or cloudy weather. This week we have the promise of a fine week in auckland with big round yellow suns all over the forecast yet it has been raining a good chunk of the day……sigh. Next week I am off work maybe never look at the fcast??

Paul Owen on 18/01/2012 10:48am

The weather forcasts have been great here, very informative!!

Dave on 16/01/2012 7:24pm

Hi Phil, What are your early thoughts on the long weekend here in the north? Maps are indicating a new high over us at that time but maybe you have some thoughts on it?

WW Forecast Team on 17/01/2012 12:52am

Hey Dave – we have a story at 5pm around this.  It looks pretty good at this very early stage – could be some easterlies building though and a 30% risk of showers on the Sunday and Monday.   Cheers, WW

Guest Steve on 16/01/2012 7:54am

Hi Philip. In my experience January can be the wild card for weather in a year. In the past seven years at Wellsford we have averaged 102 mils rain.
2005-6 we had dry months,2007-8 we had the above ave for rain, 2009-10 we had two very dry Jan in a row. In fact 2010 was drought. 2011 we had record rain of 294 mils with the remnant of Cyclone Wilma. So when you mention all of your nice things of Jan, some years we have to adapt to whatever is going. Noticeable that cicadas are very scarce here this year. Always nice to hear their singing even on warm barmy nights.
When we lived in West Auckland for a number of years before moving here, January was never the reliable month of summer. Even further back when I was a youngster in the 50s and 60s December to me was the most dominant month for summer. Most of the dry hay-making was done in this month.
Final comment I will make is that we need to adapt to weather patterns because we have no say or control of the weather.

Cheers Steve

WW Forecast Team on 17/01/2012 12:53am

Hi Steve – very interesting reading, thanks for all the details.  Funny you should mention the cicadas – I was just thinking the exact same thing as I was writing that blog!!



Paul Owen on 16/01/2012 6:02am

Across the country the temperature highs are just peaking above the 24 degree mark, but mainly temperature are staying in the early twenties. Is fair to say that we are experiencing slightly below average temperatures for this time of the year?

WW Forecast Team on 17/01/2012 12:54am

Hi Paul – yes I think many parts of the country are below average temp-wise at the moment, mainly the upper north and deep south.  Will be interesting to see NIWAs monthly report for January in early Feb.



Zelda Wynn on 16/01/2012 4:49am

Hopefully the highs will be here for Anniversary weekend. Remember last Anniversary day sailing with overcast skies & high winds. Very stimulating!

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