Sunny weather breaks records
Last updated 11:30 02/11/2010

A "spectacularly" sunny October has broken records around the country despite an extreme cold snap in the middle of the month.

The October climate summary, released by Niwa today, said last month was extremely dry and sunny in most regions due to a high number of anti-cyclones.

It was the sunniest October since records began in Kaitaia, Te Kuiti, Taumarunui, Takaka and Nelson, Timaru, Dunedin and Balclutha.

Sunshine hours were well above average across nearly the entire country, except in the southern part of the North Island, prompting Niwa to label the month "spectacularly sunny".

All of the main centres, except Wellington, were extremely sunny, but Tauranga and Christchurch topped the group, recording 246 and 245 hours of sunshine respectively.

Interestingly, Tauranga was also the warmest city and Christchurch the coolest and driest.

It was also the driest October in Nelson since records began in 1941.

The exceptions to the fine weather were an extremely cold southerly which affected the country on October 11, and a wet period for the east coast of the North Island between October 13 and 15.

The cold snap brought record or near-record temperatures for October to many North Island areas, and some South Island areas, during the following 24 hours.

The month's lowest temperature of -4.4C was also recorded at Hanmer during the snap.

However, the extreme cold was then followed by unusually warm spells on October 16 and 30.

In contrast to the rest of the country, Gisborne and Hawke's Bay were extremely wet, getting soaked with more than double their normal amount of rain.

The rainfall caused slips and flooding, closing SH2 between Napier and Wairoa, SH35 north of Tolaga Bay, and many minor roads in the area on the 13th.

Dozens of homes were left without power, rural schools were closed, and many families were evacuated from Tolaga Bay.

Though its rain was nowhere as heavy as the East coast, Wellington was the wettest of the six main centres.

From here.