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On gentle slope towards winter

Philip Duncan writes a column for the Herald on SundayAutumn has arrived and the weather is becoming increasingly changeable with hot days, cold days, sunshine and rain.

The autumn equinox was on Monday, meaning the nights are now longer than the days and the sun is spending more time shining over the Northern Hemisphere.

So yes, we’re on the slope towards winter – but for those in the upper North Island it’s a gentle slope.

An Indian summer is ensuring highs often reach the mid 20s and overnight lows are still hovering around the mid teens. Some nights are in the high teens.

Other regions have had cooler weather, in particular the South Island’s east coast – which has had plenty of wind. But as we head deeper into autumn, and when La Nina eventually starts to fade (which it is predicted to do by winter), then the westerlies will crank up more, bringing sunnier weather to the east coast.

The rain that fell this past week has been welcomed by farmers.

Last month was dry for most regions – especially dry considering La Nina usually brings average to above-average rainfall for northern and western regions.

Figures from WeatherWatch.co.nz readers show rainfall totals this month are significantly different from region to region, and even within particular areas.

Brendan Pratt of Te Puke said he recorded 58.5mm up until March 22, while further east in Kawerau John said he recorded 136mm, which is slightly above average.

The heavy rain last week caused some problems, particularly on Coromandel Peninsula.

Up to 200mm fell, causing flooding that blocked State Highway 25 when forestry logs and debris washed down from the hills.

Other roads were closed too and in total about 80 cars, campervans and trucks were trapped, some waiting more than five hours before roads were reopened.

The NZ Herald reported that a Brisbane couple, originally from Papakura, were among those stuck in their vehicles.

The couple said they had been told by Waihi police and then the Whangamata information centre that SH25 was open. “We got here and there’s this line of cars and we are told that it could be a few more hours,” said the man. “It’s just frustrating that no one seems to know what is going on.”

Home image / File, rain over Auckland, mandenomoments.com

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