Hot summer over all
NZPA | Monday, 10 March 2008

It was a topsy turvey summer but overall a hot one.

And some of the places people abandon for holidays at the beach had a great summer, the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (Niwa) said today.

Dunedin notched up more sunshine hours than ever before, Wallaceville in Upper Hutt recorded its highest ever January temperature of 30.9degC and Palmerston North registered its highest ever January temperature of 31.8degC.

But rainfall was double its normal level in the holiday hotspot of the Bay of Islands and there were floods on the Kapiti Coast, north of Wellington.

"It was a warm summer," Niwa said in summer climate summary issued today.

The national average temperature of 17.3degC was 0.8degC above normal for the summer and the highest since the summer of 1998/99.

The weather was good for New Year holidays. From December 30 to January 22, apart from two days, heat wave conditions occurred in inland and eastern areas of the South Island.

Central New Zealand had a warm summer but managed to cop some of the strong winds it is famous for. Castlepoint recorded its biggest ever January wind gust of 158kph while Wellington's Mt Kaukau recorded a gust of 143kph.

Heavy rain in Kapiti produced localised flooding in areas of Horowhenua and a subtropical low brought between 200mm and 240mm of rain to the hills between Kaeo and Kaikohe in the Far North on February 22 and February 23.

Of the five main centres Auckland was the warmest, Christchurch the wettest and sunniest and Hamilton the driest.

"Summer temperatures were above average in all five main centres, especially in Hamilton," Niwa said.

Rainfall was below normal over much of the North Island and in Southland and Otago and was less than half the normal level in Waikato, which experienced rare drought conditions.

By mid summer there were severe soil moisture deficits in many North Island areas and in the east of the South Island.

"Record high sunshine hours were observed in the southern South Island, whilst record low sunshine hours occurred in the Far North."

The highest temperature this summer was 34.8degC recorded at Timaru airport on January 12 and Waione on January 22. The lowest temperature was -1.7degC at Hanmer Forest on December 8.

From here .