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Summer spluttering for some, roaring for others

If you live in Southland and Otago you might swear the weather is currently from the second half of the year.  If you live along western New Zealand it often feels like late spring rather than mid-summer.  If you’re in northern and north eastern New Zealand you may be desperate for rain.

Summer 2013/14 is shaping up to be one of massive regional differences with some people wanting to know ‘when summer will start’ compared to those desperately asking about ‘when rain will fall, we only have 3 days of water left’.

“We are still seeing a strong westerly flow across the country and this means east to north east areas will continue to remain dry while southern and western areas will have more changable weather” says head weather analyst Philip Duncan.

Mr Duncan says the weather around coastal parts of Southland and Otago has been miserable lately for many with frequent rain or showers, often heavy, along with cold winds.  Dunedin has a high of 15 degrees today, which warms up to 17 for the following two days however by Sunday it drops back to 14 and then slips further to a high of just 13 degrees with showers on Monday.

“However we do see warmer weather later next week for parts of Otago and Southland – we’re hoping Tuesday will see a more positive summer forecast but another cooler change may briefly brush the south by next Friday”.

And while this nationwide westerly flow is driving in lower temperatures to western areas, including Auckland where highs have mostly been in the low 20s for the past month, it’s helping make for perfect summer weather in many eastern areas.

But perfect for campers doesn’t mean perfect for farmers.

As we expected by mid January some farmers need rain – especially around Gisborne, East Cape and some parts of Northland and Hawkes Bay.  If you desperately need rain and are in another region please post a comment below and let us know!

Weather for most North Island places should improve over the next day or two, but another burst of gales is possible for Wellington this Sunday or Monday.  This windy changeable pattern hasn’t stopped since it started back in September.

Meanwhile Canterbury seems to be in the not too hot not too cold zone between Wellington and Dunedin.  Christchurch will see highs in the low to mid 20s most days with mainly dry weather thanks to the wind flow.

– Image / Devonport,  Goina Thedinger



Chris J on 9/01/2014 10:56am

The SE arrived here and was a bitterly cold wind, like it was off the ice. It was dry and dropped virga. Had it been moist, it would not have surprised me to see it snow fall on the hills. Did that here in January 2010. I want the Northerly to pack its bags, its been arriving for months now. It is orographic here and is more of a NE-E with dry air and has been about 53% humidity lately. We had Ac lenticular from that yesterday as well as from the SE direction which I did not understand, suffice to say stable air must’ve been present. T-storms forming in stable air is normal for the Wellington region.  Some odd N’s have been coming down this side of Kapiti Isld 2013-14, setting up convergence with the SE and some cracker looking cells. That’s actually not normal at all to see the N so close to our shore. Had one last week. As for this month, it is like last year with that westerly summer. Waiting to see if any systems spawn the Taranaki NW’s this autumn, as they strike us with a literal deluge with no wind to push them uphill, and sometimes a mountain stalling and hot inversions. They were bad last year, with rain in excess of 1mm/minute. We’ll just have to see if any ex-tropical cyclones or lows come down via the Tasman Sea March-April. 

We’ve had some weird stuff, like virga falling from the Nov-Dec anticyclones, like it wants to snow. Also had virga from standing waves even, which is all wrong. The nor westers have been very powerful, literal blastings this month, and to have rain falling at 1mm/minute is unusual for January, that is normally Spring or Autumn sorta stuff. We had little bits of ice and like tiny grains of sleet with the strong and warm 2013-14 westerlies, with intense hail from a W trough. It wasn’t from cells, that I believe is due to our changing orographic climate, and we may yet see sleet fall from a warm westerly. It’ll be novel for real when that happens. Still the NW cloud bases are high up, which is a sure sign of summer here. 

sw on 9/01/2014 6:08am

Enough wind driven pine needles wrecking the roof and randomy elsewhere since summer begun.

sw on 9/01/2014 6:07am

Enough wind driven pine needles wrecking the roof and randomly elsewhere since summer began.

Guest: Ian Cooper on 9/01/2014 12:45am

Hi Philip,


has anyone from NIWA or elsewhwere alluded to what over-riding atmospheric phenomena is causing/allowing the sub-antarctic lows to rise up and sweep over the country effectively blocking out the approaching highs on almost every occasion?

Is it per chance an unfavourable SAM (Southern Annular Mode) and cooling waters mostly off our S.E. coast courtesy of the ACW (Antarctic Circumpolar Wave) combining in a negative way?

We had 18 straight days in a row without rain back in November here in the Manawatu and temperatures were just climbing nicely until early December. Since then it seems like nature can’t make its mind up which way to go. A few degrees cooler and this current southerly would be dropping snow on the ranges around here! That isn’t unheard of, in fact it snowed on the Ruahines last January at the start of the drought!

Chuckie on 9/01/2014 8:59am

Ian’s nailed exactly what I wanted to ask re Auckland, but with fancy terminology and stuff. In AKL, one week in November of 24-25s; one week in December of 24-26s; the rest a bit cool, relatively.

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