NZ bakes in hottest month ever
By Isaac Davison
5:30 AM Tuesday Feb 15, 2011

Hundred-year-old records are tumbling as unrelenting heat sets New Zealand on course for its hottest February ever.

Most regions are between 2C and 3C hotter than normal as the strongest La Nina weather pattern in 30 years drives warm air and heavy humidity over the North Island.

"We are only halfway, so it could yet change. But for the first two weeks we've run at our hottest ever," said climate scientist Georgina Griffiths, of the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research. "And February is usually our hottest month.

"Even if we got extremely cold for the rest of the month, it's not going to be a normal February."

While some regions have missed out - Otago has had only five dry days in the past 30 - most are basking. Some east coast regions, such as Gisborne, Wairoa and Hawkes Bay, are a staggering 3.9C warmer than their mean temperature for the month.

Auckland has consistently reached 27C, and with humidity exceeding 70 per cent, it has felt a few degrees higher than the thermometer reading.

More here.