It ain't half hot for June
Last updated 0500 17/06/2011

While much of the country basks in a mild winter, scientists are keeping watch for another record-busting month.

Last month was New Zealand's hottest May since records began, and temperatures for June so far are one or two degrees above average for much of the country.

National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research principal scientist James Renwick said that now measurements had been collected for the first half of the month, it would have to get "awfully cold" for the trend to reverse.

"The idea is that we're expecting temperatures to stay on the warm side through the rest of the winter. It's striking that temperatures have stayed up so much this far." Just as in May, northerly winds had dominated weather patterns, saving New Zealand from the lower temperatures associated with southerly winds.

Summer and autumn had been characterised by the La Nina weather event, which explained the warmer conditions.

However, La Nina had essentially gone from the tropics now, and forecasters were watching to see whether a La Nina or El Nino was likely to form.

At this stage, predictions were that neither would develop, Dr Renwick said.

For the first half of the month in Wellington, temperatures at Kelburn and the airport had been 1.8 degrees above normal average mean temperatures. Even minimum temperatures had been about 1.7 degrees above average.

Dr Renwick said the highest temperatures recorded in Wellington so far this month were 17.7 degrees at Wellington airport and 17 degrees in Kelburn.

Rainfall in Wellington half way through the month was 38 per cent of the average total for the month, showing the capital had also been drier than usual.

However at Paraparaumu, 76 per cent of the average monthly rainfall had already fallen.

Dr Renwick said that was unsurprising given the frequent northwesterlies.

- The Dominion Post

From here.