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Herald on Sunday column: Summer heat just getting started

By Philip Duncan

Summer has officially kicked off in New Zealand but the summer weather clearly kicked much earlier this year.

Temperatures across last week have been shooting up around the 30 degree mark every day across inland parts of both islands, with a hot 33 degrees at Hanmer Springs recorded last Monday…and we’re still about 10 weeks away from the hottest time of the year.

“The weather we’ve had in Auckland this week makes me extra keen to head up north to our family beach for the holidays” says Carla Gordon of Waitakere. “Being in the city on a hot sunny day is just plain wrong”.

If you’re a fan of the hot weather you’ll be glad to know that NIWA is also predicting a hot summer. NIWA Scientist Dr James Renwick told Newstalk ZB this week that most places will have a mild to hot summer, “We’re looking at temperatures being at least on the average or possibly above average.”

But the heat will be accompanied by humidity. This is my favourite weather – when you get a sweat just walking to the mailbox it makes you feel less guilty about sitting down and doing nothing. Something we rarely do in this fast moving day and age. The humidity gives you the excuse, even on a sunny day, to just do nothing.

Of course not everyone is like me – many hate the high humidity. Weather Ambassador Bob McDavitt is a big fan of the hot, dry, weather. Every summer we have the conversation where I try to sell the benefits of high humidity… but I never convince him!

The first severe thunderstorm warning of the “hot season” was issued on Tuesday evening. I’ve neglected to mention in previous columns that even though La Nina can bring more cloud it also brings more humidity – and therefore an increased risk of severe thunderstorms – the ones that rise several kilometres into the sky.

I love thunderstorms – especially the big slow moving ones we get in summer over places like Waikato. They can also bring isolated pockets of relief to dry farms and gardens. has a live lightning tracker that operates all year around thanks to some passionate weather enthusiasts. The data from their privately owned detectors around the country gives you a fascinating view of the thunderstorms as they explode into life – make sure you add it to your favourites!

Homepage image / Chris Gin


Rachel jennings on 6/12/2010 1:12am

Hey ya

I looked at the lightening detector, and there were little red thingies over Christchurch! Is our risk medium or low? Just curious now.

Guest on 6/12/2010 12:59am

I love thunderstorms too! Hoping for some big ones around the Rodney/Auckland region this year or of course next year. And we need some rain!!!!

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