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Sizzling in the southern summer heat

Over recent days I’ve been holidaying in the south and it’s a trip I often do with the family in January but this season is certainly one that will be logged into my memory banks for some time.

Coastal areas of South Otago and Southland aren’t known for their sizzling temperatures each and every day but there are times when the 30s are topped, however not with the monotonous regularity which has been the case in recent times.

The tarseal on the roads has been melting day after day with council workers doing their bit to pour shingle on affected areas, crops have been wiltering under the big yellow too. Birdlife have done their best to avoid the direct rays and at times have been noted by their absence of bird song during the hottest of times. The locals have been complaining about the very hot days and the sticky nights with heat pumps actually being used as air conditioners which is not a common occurence in the deep south. We could be forgiven that this sort of climate is more akin to continental Europe during midsummer and not the southern regions of Aoteoroa!

The summer heat over the mainland is usually confined to the central and eastern areas of the South Island but lately the high temperatures have been felt in many areas and even places such as Milford Sound have had the mercury rising well into the 20’s (it has never  hit 30 apparently).

Invercargill yesterday had an official high of 29 degrees and yet other city thermometers had the mercury hitting a shade higher and topping that magic 30. This sort of heat isn’t often recorded along the south coast and last night at 8pm it was still 28 degrees!

Inland areas have been blazing under the summer sun with Culverden’s maximum amended yesterday to 37 degrees, with Hamner Springs on 34, Alexandra into the 30s and the list goes on and on. The eastern coastline also climbed into the 30s in many areas too with the seabreeze gently wafting through.  Dunedinites had little wind in a number of suburbs and although the city had an official high of 30 and the airport recorded 32, many weather stations dotted around were well into the mid 30s.

Cantabrians are a little more used to the heat but since Christmas day, a dry spell has certainly taken hold and although there has been a spectacular storm or 2 in the last month, what rain, hail or drizzle has fallen has already been soaked up during the big heat.

Many towns and cities have seen temperatures well up on the usual January average with Nelson and Marlborough also baking under blue skies and high temperatures recently.

This isn’t the first time this summer that the heat has been so obvious and it’s looking more likely that there is more to come in the weeks ahead so just a reminder to slip, slop, slap and wrap as the UV index remains very high over much of the country.

Weather Analyst – Richard Green


SW on 24/01/2009 9:43pm

The only time I have been to Invercargill it was almost 31°c in February 1998,and the night was like an Auckland night on the hottest nights of summer,they said at the time it was the hottest day in 20 years.

WW Forecast Team on 25/01/2009 6:16am

I was also there at that time and it was very warm indeed!. The night however was hotter on this occasion and making the long twilight a real pleasure.



Föehn on 24/01/2009 8:47pm

Yesterday we were picking up hay. We had to wait for the dew to lift, as the hay was baled late on Friday evening. Tried to time it before the heat of the day got up, but there were so many bales, that even with a good team, we didn’t get finished until 2pm. It was certainly hot by then.

WW Forecast Team on 25/01/2009 6:18am

 It’s amazing how some evening were decidely cool and yet the days would make the 30’s. Some night time lows were down to 5 degrees in some parts during the early part of last week too.

Hope you had plenty to drink while working in the heat!

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