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Week in Weather – What’s been making headlines this week

Spring is ending with a flurry of activity around the country – we’ve had gale force winds, some heavy rain, cold, foggy conditions and temperatures in the 30s – all in the space of a week!

Let’s start in Auckland, where an unusual “continuous thunderstorm event” captivated Aucklanders overnight on Saturday last week.
For almost half an hour, thunder and lightning continued non-stop for some central and northern suburbs, WeatherWatch said.
The show raged from about 11.55pm to 12.20am, but come back time and time again in isolated showers – then a more widespread shower at dawn.

WeatherWatch head weather analyst Philip Duncan said "hundreds" of lightning flashes lit up skies around the city. Photo / Twitter

Photo / Twitter via NZME

Across the Tasman, they’ve been experiencing an even weirder finish to spring than here – as parts of Queensland have come within just a couple of degrees of breaking November heat records, with some parts of the state recording temperatures up to 10 degrees Celsius above average.
The Bureau of Meteorology senior forecaster Rick Threlfall said the hottest temperatures seen last Saturday were in the north-west of the state.
“Urandangi got up to 43 degrees, Monument got up to 42 degrees, but a lot of places over the interior were over 40 degrees and in the south-east some places getting up to 40 degrees, out near Gatton,” he said.

Meanwhile, further south, Tasmania has had a bipolar spring so far – while hot, dry conditions plague many parts of Australia, snow has settled just five days from the start of summer.
October saw the state plagued by bushfires with the hottest start to spring on record.
The mercury climbed above 29 degrees Celsius four times last month, which the Bureau of Meteorology said had not happened since records began in 1882.

A little further afield, Myanmar was in the international weather headlines this week, after a landslide near a jade mine killed more than 100 people.
Most of the victims are villagers who had been sifting through waste and processed mining materials when the landslide struck Saturday afternoon (Sunday NZT) in Kachin state.

There’s been so much talk about El Niño this year, our Head Weather Analyst Philip Duncan wrote an editorial piece on Tuesday this week, assessing its effects on both islands – concluding that the much famed system isn’t living up to the hype – for now.
It’s been a cold and sometimes dry spring, generally, across New Zealand – and with plenty of wind.
But despite an ongoing drought in Canterbury, dry areas creeping into Marlborough and North Otago and heat records being broken earlier in the season, many other areas have had rain relief in recent weeks and many farmers are feeling optmistic heading into December.

In political climate news, the Government’s climate change ambitions are being challenged ahead of an upcoming UN conference on the issue in Paris.
It’s looking to back a target that restricts global temperature increase to no more than two degrees, while opposition MPs are saying that’s setting the bar too low.

In related news, less than two weeks before that global climate summit in Paris kicks off, NOAA, NASA and other global temperature monitors released data showing that the planet is already halfway to two degrees of warming, the much publicized limit of “controllable” climate change.

The list of superlatives for October is staggering:

  • the warmest October ever observed (in 136 years of NOAA records),
  • the warmest month ever compared to average (out of 1,630 months),
  • the sixth consecutive month breaking a global temperature record, and
  • seven of the 10 warmest months have occurred in 2015.

In a video special, we received footage this week of an incredible attempted landing in Ireland, when, dur to strong winds, the pilot of a flight from London was forced to abort his landing after touchdown, and perform a ‘go around’ procedure.
Check out the amazing pictures, below.

It’s been an unseasonably warm week for some parts of the country, with the mercury hitting 30 degrees in eastern parts of both islands on Thursday.
As of 2:30pm it was officially 30 degrees in Hastings and Napier, 29 degrees in Ashburton and 27 degrees in Dunedin. Private weather stations right across Canterbury and Hawkes Bay were measuring 30 degrees or even slightly higher at times during the day!

And finally, holidaymakers should plan for a sunny festive season – but chilly weather in the lead-up to December 25 will mean a Christmas Day dip will be only for the brave.
It’s just under five weeks until Christmas, and and MetService say the signs are looking positive for golden sunshine to bathe eastern and northern New Zealand.
Check the forecast out, here!

Don’t forget to take a look at our weekend weather outlook, here, and have your say about the coming month in this week’s poll, below!

– Drew Chappell,


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