New Zealand's winter of extremes
Last updated 12:40 08/09/2009

Winter was a season of extremes across the country, starting with freezing conditions in June but ending with a record warm August.

Statistically speaking it all evened out, with the official months of winter - June, July, and August - showing near average temperatures in many regions.

In its climate summary for winter, the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (Niwa) said today that the average temperature for winter across the country was 8.3degC, 0.2degC above the winter mean.

However, most New Zealanders would consider that winter started in May this year, when temperatures were between 2 and 2.5degC lower than average in many areas.

Rainfall was well above normal in Bay of Plenty, Gisborne, and Westland, but below normal in the east of the South Island and parts of Wellington, Kapiti Coast and the Wairarapa. Elsewhere, rainfall was near normal.

It was a sunny winter for the north and west of the North Island, as well as in the Clutha district, and parts of Canterbury and Westland.

June was dominated by higher-than-normal pressures over the country, meaning more frosts and much colder than normal temperatures everywhere.

July saw a transition toward more southwesterly winds over the country while August was dominated by northerly winds, bringing with them very warm temperatures for the time of year.

The lowest temperature during winter was -11.7degC, recorded at Middlemarch, central Otago, on July 19. The highest temperature was 22.2degC in Timaru on August 25.

The highest one-day rainfall was 205mm, at Te Puia Springs, near Gisborne, on June 29.

Of the six main centres, Auckland was the warmest, Christchurch the coldest, Tauranga the wettest but also the sunniest, and Dunedin was the driest.

From here.