If you go by the meteorological calendar then this is the final weekend of summer (don’t worry, the astronomical end to summer is still 3.5 weeks away and we see no end in sight for the current weather pattern) – and the forecast is looking pretty good for most of the country under high pressure.
In fact the change in weather pattern this February across New Zealand certainly looks set to continue on into the first week or two of March with mostly dry, calm, weather and plenty of hot days.
This weekend is no different with high pressure moving in, bringing light winds and sea and lake breezes.
There are a few shower risks in both islands.
In the North Island warmth plus humidity will make for some cloudy skies at times – and a few isolated downpours, especially around Waikato and inland Bay of Plenty and perhaps Auckland region (but an isolated summer shower might pop up anywhere in the North Island).
In the South Island a very weak cold front will bring a bit of wet weather to Fiordland and South Westland late on Saturday – then a few showers, or drizzle patches, are possible on Sunday around Canterbury.
There will also be a temperature drop with this weak southerly on Sunday in the south. It may be most noticeable in Canterbury where the highs on Saturday will be in the mid to late 20s followed by a high in the mid-teens on Sunday. Next week the heat returns as another high pressure system rolls in.
WeatherWatch.co.nz expects high pressure to dominate into March for much of New Zealand.
As for when to celebrate the change of seasons – that is entirely up to you. Most weather forecasters around the world celebrate both the Meteorological start to the seasons (on the 1st) and the Astronomical date (which is based around the solstice and equinox and is roughly around the 21st, three weeks later).
Over the years we have frequently polled/asked which date New Zealanders prefer to go with and the majority prefer the Meteorological date. In fact in a poll we ran in the second week of last September (a week after the meteorological start of spring but a week before the astronomical start) showed that 81% of Kiwis said it was “definitely spring”. We wonder if in two weeks time people will feel that it is “definitely Autumn?” Chances are you will – with the nights getting longer and longer and slightly cooler mornings as a result, even with the hot afternoons for many. When the equinox arrives in 3.5 weeks the nights will be as long as the days and a month from now the nights become longer than the days as we slide towards winter.
Another fun fact? Our polling over the past decade shows that Autumn is the most loved season by New Zealanders, slightly eclipsing summer which comes in as second favourite.
– Map, March 1st shows a big stream of highs from the Indian Ocean to southern Australia to New Zealand / ECMWF