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BLOG: You must be insane to think this is winter

Blog by head weather analyst Philip Duncan

I think you’d almost have to be insane to really, truly, believe that THIS is winter.  Today 9 of the centres in our Daily Highs reached 20 degrees and over.  The national high of 22 going to both Napier and Kaikoura.

Sitting at work we were discussing temperatures in the ZB newsroom when Paul Holmes mentioned it was 21 degrees in his car as he pulled up for work.  How can this possibly be described as winter?  And for those who go by the Spring Equinox – another 3 and a half weeks away – we’re only two thirds through winter…really?  But there are flowers and lambs and people sitting outside in the evenings having BBQs!

Today was t-shirt weather almost everywhere…and for some in the north and the east it’s been t-shirt weather for almost all of August.

So maybe it’s time we looked at scraping the start and end dates of our seasons?  Maybe Winter should end on July 31?   What about the North Island and South Island having winters and summers start at separate times – after all the sun rises and sets at wildly different times on the longest and shortest days from Dunedin to Auckland. 

Many large countries have different time zones – so why couldn’t New Zealand have winter end on July 31 in the North Island and August 31 in the South Island?  Maybe Summer should start November in the South Island where temperatures frequently hit the mid-20s with the nor’westers?  Or perhaps end on March 31 in the North Island as the tropical heat holds strong?

I’d love to hear your thoughts – it was hot today in many places…not just ‘warm’…and OK sure, not every August is like this… but it’s certainly hard to accept that this is Winter.   What do you think?


David New Brighton on 29/08/2009 8:03pm

There is no “official” start to any season…who told you that? Big Brother?

The weather decides when Spring is , when summer is, when winter is, when autumn is…
it may be early it may be late…so what?

The fact that we have had a short sharp winter, and a brief, so far Spring, so that we are virtually into an early summer, is just one of those things….be greatful… the weather, at least here, has been GREAT! [ but no snow this… oops… last winter!]

In fact, some of my fruit trees have yet to blossom! I pop out to my garden and keep telling them, “You had better plurry well start blossuming soon, because the way the weather’s going at this rate it will soon be WINTER! He,he…..

The bottom line is no one tells me when Spring starts…..I am quite capable of judging that for myself, thank you! … As you people can too!

For what it’s worth, I always consider the winter months as being May/ June/ July and a fair portion of August…give Summer late October, November, December, January, February….Autumn give March, April and a teensy bit of May. don’t forget Spring…September, half of October, and mabe the last week or so of August, Depending on the Weather, of course!

Oooh, by the way …Don’t use sunscreens/ block whatever they call it….they may well contain toxic chemicals, which can cause cancer….Vitamin D is good for you, and you can always cover up and wear a hat!

Don’t take the flu shots as well for the same reason….check out
…and pass it round….tku

Derek on 28/08/2009 11:19pm

Just a change in the pattern of things in my opinion. we have had many such ocurrances over the years but this one is standing out because the weather is good not bad and unexpected. From an early cold winter start to a warm early spring, who wouldn’t like it?
As Laura said in her email here in Northland we certainly noticed the turn to spring like weather sometime ago and yesterday was so summer like it was hard to believe. Today in comparison though it is overcast expecting showers and a noticeable drop in the temp. This time yesterday we were looking at 20deg, today we are around 15.

But I am still cautious though as we can very quickly go bad and have a good winter blast shoot through, hope not but it happens. Gets us all in summer mode and wham.

There is an old English saying from way back,”Never cast a clout till May is out” clout meaning cloak, May was the end of spring there so transpose that to here and it relates to November. In other words remain wary that the weather may not be certain, as we no only too well down here in Southern waters.

But I am all for an early dive into warm weather, Friday was absolutely great.

Laura on 28/08/2009 10:15pm

I’m not sure I’d go so far as to change the dates, but it’s certainly felt like spring up in Northland for a few weeks now. Blossom, real daffodils, leaves on the trees. It’s lovely!

RW on 28/08/2009 10:21am

It’s just a very warm August, which stands out even more after the 3 preceding months were colder than average (though the relative coldness diminished as winter went on, so the upward tendency was there after a very cold start). My seasonal charts based solely on average daily temperatures for 30+ places and many years of data showed no North Island location ending its winter (ie moving out of the coldest 1/4 of its temperature spectrum) before a September date. For Alexandra however, this happens on about August 22 on average.

Great of course to have such a warm August, which in my locality has also been quite dry and also sunnier than the longterm average.

Jason on 28/08/2009 7:34am

Shift the seasons at all what we need to do is look at the bigger picture here.
Ok winter started in May for the south island this year and got sunnier/warmer in August, but just because of one year of this we cant go changing the seasons.
Last year in August the temperatures were average or below average in many areas after a stormy July.
We can still get snowfalls and frosts during September,October,November, as was proven with the 2005 snowfall in Christchurch in September and the snow showers which fell last year in southern parts of Christchurch during early November.
It comes down to yearly waves or patterns, when there’s warmer sectors and colder ones.
Maybe the North and South poles are switching like some people are saying, but we wont know until we investigate over more years to come.

Claire on 28/08/2009 6:05am

I seem to recall summer starting earlier when I was younger, and it seems to have gotten later and later as the years went on. It felt like all the seasons were shifting in one direction, maybe now they are going back the other way?

John on 28/08/2009 5:45am

Well we have certainly been enjoying spring like conditions in Kawerau for the past 5 weeks. There is most definitely a large difference in the seasons between the Islands. Since moving from the deep south three years ago we have observed a conservative 4 to 6 week difference. Just love rearing the rewards of the much earlier home grown fodder.

Rob on 28/08/2009 5:15am

being the long country we are I think it should be something that could be looked int seriously. daylight hours and seasons vary dramtically from the winterless north to the mid part of NZ to the very south. I think splitting it into NI/SI seasonal changes would be great, plus it means more rivalry between the 2 islands! But on a serious note, I think our season start & end dates need to be looked into.

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