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Column: In between month can throw up some surprises

Writing a weekly weather column is an absolute joy but, I’ve gotta be honest with you, the weather nerd in me hates November because it would have to be the most boring weather month of the year.

My editors at the Herald on Sunday like me to involve the public in my columns – quoting people and talking about real-life situations and experiences. For me, this is usually fairly easy because I deal with so many of you on a daily basis. But, wow, this month will be tough. Firstly, our winter storms have pretty much finished with us now. We saw a brief taste of winter in the deep south on Friday and Saturday … but (and no offence to those in Southland and Otago) it’s hardly a national weather event.

Secondly, November is too early for the big summer storms – the ex-tropical cyclones, the big sub-tropical lows, the powerful afternoon thunderstorms. November is also too early for significant humid spells – and any hot weather is usually confined to the east coast. Even if that does make the news, it has to really affect Christchurch and Napier/Hastings at the same time before it becomes a national story worthy of a column.

But while November weather is usually fairly dull, the first week of this month has been anything but. The wintry spell in the deep south on Friday was of stark contrast to Dunedin’s 27C day last Monday. The rain in some areas has also been intense, with gusty winds.

Labour Weekend is often considering the beginning of summer – at least gardening and clothes-wise. Since then, some days have felt like summer but the big rain bands have continued to push in. Children are wearing their summer school uniforms and sunhats – but some days are wet and windy. For adults, the umbrella blows inside out at the traffic lights or the warm clothes you put on while it was raining in the morning are making you perspire in the 23C afternoon sun.

Talking of being at school – how many of you remember the excitement of starting swimming in November, only to find the water absolutely freezing at this time of the year? I can still remember the long walk across the school field to the pool – trying to dodge prickles or the bees on the flowering clover. The sun was so hot … but the water was anything but.

Ah November … perhaps not the boring month of weather after all?


– Philip Duncan writes a weekly column for the Herald on Sunday

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