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The rest of summer expected to remain “unsettled”

As we predicted last month the second half of February may contain some of our hottest days so far this summer but overall the rainmakers are starting to dominate – even if they aren’t all making a direct hit with New Zealand.

WeatherWatch.co.nz says the second half of February looks quite unsettled with a mix of highs, lows and still plenty more of that cloud that has defined our summer so far.

Head weather analyst Philip Duncan says time has pretty much run out for anything to significantly change for the final two weeks of summer.  “This has been a summer most of us will either forget due it’s dullness, or one to remember because it ruined many of our holiday plans”.

Mr Duncan says in recent days many in the north have finally had stronger summer heat – but the rain clouds have also returned after a dry past 4 weeks.  

“December started wet in the north and very dry in the south.  By Mid-January it had switched, with the rain moving into the south and the north finally drying out.  Now we’re seeing the third change – and this one sees unsettled weather for most parts of New Zealand for the final couple of weeks”.

Mr Duncan says this new change may spark more westerlies in the South Island which could help boost temperatures a little more – but it will also be mixed with cooler southerlies and cloudy northerlies.

He says the main problem this summer hasn’t really been the lack of highs – but instead the lack of ones sitting over the country.  “The highs have been what we call ‘dirty highs’ – they bring in cloud and they linger for only a few days, meaning we get the cooler winds from the south at the beginning then the more humid northerlies at the end.  After it’s passed many aren’t even aware it was actually a high that passed over”.

Last summer the highs were sitting over New Zealand for several days at a time – giving us plenty of hot, sunny, days. 

Last summer also saw a number of ex-cyclones move down over New Zealand and while most didn’t cause too many problems they did drag down extra hot, humid, air. 

In February last year air also crossed over from Australia in a westerly, which saw Timaru climb into the 40s and many other centres reach the late 30s. 

“The highs that we have had this summer have frequently moved in from south of Australia.  This is over the Southern Ocean and so those highs aren’t really bringing in the hot air we expect”.

Add to that La Nina has been active to our north all summer and has contributed to some of the cloud and easterlies we’ve experienced.

So what about Autumn?  “I suspect the fairly Autumn-like weather we’ve been experiencing for the past month will continue into March.  So the start of Autumn may not be terribly different to the end of Summer”.

Not quite an Indian summer…but no signs of a slippery slope to the colder weather just yet either.

Homepage image / File, David Hawke

– WeatherWatch.co.nz

Comments

sw on 15/02/2012 9:43am

Wasnt feb 2004 “worse” than this…then there was 1983,but it depends where one lived too.

RW on 16/02/2012 12:07am

Feb 2004 could be unequivocally described as the “worst” February for NI areas from Manawatu-Wanganui to Wellington and Wairarapa, considering the combination of low sun, record high rainfall and strong winds.

February 1983 was coolish but very dry in many places, with reasonable sun. Parts of the Marlborough Sounds were rainless that month.

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