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For those of you who read the Herald Online you’ve probably seen Philip Duncan’s blog page.  If not, bookmark this page here:

The blogs are usually different to the ones posted here at the Weather Watch Centre.  Typically they are posted on Monday’s, Wednesday’s and Friday’s – so bookmark the link above and enjoying reading more New Zealand weather news!


The Weather Watch Team

Here’s Monday’s blog about Spring:

Spring is in the air! Crazy really, considering we’re in the bowels of Winter.

But despite snow falling as far north as Tokoroa last weekend and temperatures to minus 4 in Hamilton and minus 7 in Central Otago, warmth finally graced us this weekend. Highs over 19, 20, even 21 at 1am in the morning, were reported.

This was all thanks to a nice big slab of warm air from the Northern Tasman Sea flushing last weekends polar blast way out into the Pacific.

Every Sunday morning I try to take a big long walk. Living in Auckland coupled with long working hours means I spend much of my week either in my office or in my car. For some reason all the storms this year have happened during the weekend – I noticed this when Sky/Prime News came to film me for the 5:30pm news about snow last weekend and I said to Kate King, the reporter, “Why do you only come on Saturdays?” Her answer – “We’ve only had storms on Saturdays this year”.

I felt like a bit of a dork at that point. She was right and why hadn’t I clicked! My Sunday morning walks have been interupted by phone calls from the news media wanting an update on the ‘latest storm conditions’ for a number of weeks now! Well, yesterday all was quiet on the weather front and I enjoyed my morning walk (yes, I consider one 30 minute walk once a week my entire weekly exercise!). On this walk I realised I could ‘smell’ Spring in the air. I smelt the aroma of Daphne, now in flower, lawns, soaked by Saturday’s heavy rain, had a fresh smell to it from the 15 degree warmth radiating from the grass. It made me realise just how short lived Winter can be in New Zealand.

I’ve lived in Auckland for nearly a decade but it still surprises me how short winter is this far north. The really cold stuff only lasts a month – usually through the month of July. Once the shortest day has passed in late June, the days start to warm up a few weeks later. While frosts are possibly in August, the day time highs quickly return to the upper teen, but even in July it still gets to 16 frequently – I mean I still have annuals flowering in my garden.

100kms down the road in Hamilton and it’s a different story – winter has arrived and won’t let go until at least September. It was minus 4 there last week – I should know, I was down there with the Radio Network and my toes took hours to warm up after a 6am start one morning!

Further down into the South Island and those in Southland have more of a northern hemisphere winter. What I mean by that is that they experience winter’s similar to the UK, Canada and northern America. A winter that lasts for 3 or 4 months with snow and cold nights.

In my weekly Monday morning Farming Show interview with Jamie Mackay on Radio Sport I often get laughed at. Jamie is true South Island bloke from Southland. This guy knows a winter when he sees one – and when I tell him it’s ‘blimmin cold on 13 degrees in Auckland’ he laughs and tells me 7 has been their high for the past week.

Southern parts of the South Island will still experience the brutality of winter this week with temperatures barely making it above double figures. Meanwhile those from Auckland northwards will be right in thinking “Spring is in the air”. Because it really is. While wintry cold snaps can last right through until December (seriously!) it’s looking more and more likely that the wintry outbreak a week ago was the coldest ‘event’ of 2008 for all of New Zealand.

The days are getting longer, the sun is moving our way, just 6 weeks until Spring officially starts – the lambs, calves and daffodils are appearing. For those of you who are glass half full, it’s time to enjoy the small sensations of spring arriving.



Will on 16/07/2008 1:14pm

Pretty tough to compare to Hamilton’s -4C temperature when NZAA got to zero at the same time which is very rare for that site…

‘Officially’ Spring starts on September 23 with the equinox – it’s just that September 1 is the social norm.

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