Warmer, drier than usual winter predicted
Last updated 18:40 29/04/2010

New Zealand can look forward to a warmer and drier than usual start to winter this year, according to the latest National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (Niwa) weather outlook.

Niwa predicted temperatures were likely to be above average in the North Island and average to above average in the South Island for May to July.

As well as warmer weather, Niwa forecast most of the country would see a drier than usual three months ahead. In the driest parts of the country, low soil moisture and stream flows were likely to continue into the winter.

In contrast the west coast of the South Island, Inland Otago and Southland would go against the trend with soil moisture, rainfall and stream flows predicted to be near or above normal levels.

Niwa said the El Nino weather pattern in the tropical Pacific was fading at a rapid rate and likely to be replaced by neutral weather conditions by June.

Sea level pressures were likely to be lower than normal in the south which may mean stronger than normal westerlies over the country until July.

The warmer than usual mean temperatures will be interrupted by short-term cold snaps as winter sets in.

From here.