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Want summer weather? Head to Alexandra

Alexandra is by far dominating as the hottest place in New Zealand this summer, taking the national high a staggering 24 times in the 40 days since Summer started reports

The weather news authority says in December the Central Otago town clocked up 18 days with the national high, including 11 consecutive days at the end of the month.

In January the trend has continued, taking 6 of the 9 days as New Zealand’s hottest spot. 

Most days the town has been around the 30 degree mark.

Alexandra has a few things going for it when it comes to the heat. 

Despite being just a couple of hundred kilometres from the wettest place in New Zealand – and one of the wettest on earth – Fiordland, Alexandra is actually in our driest region – Central Otago.

The large mountains to the west and big ranges in all other directions limit most rainmakers from reaching the town.

In summer, the shape of the earth and it’s orbit around the sun means the lower South Island has more sunlight hours – which means the areas has more time to heat up.

Alexandra also lies in a large basin – where the air isn’t blown around by afternoon sea breezes – or even general winds.

Finally, with very dry conditions around Southland and Otago this summer due to persistent high pressure systems, Alexandra is proving to be the most summer-like place in the country.

But if you’re wanting to move there, you may to want to balance it out with winter weather. 

Alex is one of the only main centres in New Zealand that can stay below zero all day in winter and is well known for its hoar frosts – when fog develops below freezing and freezes to everything it touches, creating beautiful ice build ups – but can also be hazardous for pedestrians and motorists. 

See all the daily highs here

– Image / Google Earth



Guest peter of dunedin on 10/01/2012 1:56am

When I was employed in the NZ Met. Service some 36 years ago there was no separation between the two arms organisationally. Successive Governments since the 1980’s have successfully stuffed up in splitting the arms and with successive cutbacks and profitering rather than providing an enlightened service. I can vouch that the people who work within both organisations are truly dedicated and frustrated by continuous ignorant governance by government.

SimonB on 10/01/2012 12:36am

Alexandra often has the high as reported here and by MetService. However, this is often a degree or so higher than the Alexandra Cws station whose data can be publicly accessed through NIWA’s CliFlo database. This station is in turn often not as warm as NIWA’s Cromwell site (Cromwell has had a higher daily maximum on 22 out of 40 days since 1 December). In easterly conditions such as we have had this summer, both Cromwell and Wanaka are usually warmer than Alexandra (which does better in northwesterlies). Long-term historical data suggest that Cromwell is about 0.5 degrees warmer than Alexandra in summer.

It’s a bit strange that MetService reports Alexandra as the daily high when it has no data for the town on its website (only for Roxburgh or Wanaka) and there is no information on the station or its set up. This also seems to be part of the wider issue of duplication and lack of consistency between MetService and NIWA.

WW Forecast Team on 10/01/2012 12:41am

Hi Simon

Thanks for the information – very helpful.  You comment at the end backs up our public calls for years that MetService and NIWA should again be merged for the good of the people and not to make the most profits.  This is not a reflection of staff at either organisation – this refflects on all our governments since the early 1990s which have supported the two being seperate.  NZ continues this bizarre trends which serves only to create a moneystream into Govt.

– WW

David on 10/01/2012 1:51am

Where in Alexandra is the gauge located?

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