Wednesday, 17 February 2016

The el-Nino summer in New Zealand

Hot and NO wind in Windy Welly. I've never known such an uninterrrupted period of hot weather for the capital. When they say rain they mean precipitation.

Wellington is shaping up for the hottest February on record

February, 2016

Wellington is on track for the hottest February on record, and residents are feeling the burn.

Long days and hot nights have seen people struggling to get to sleep, doctors have noticed cases of "nasty" sunburn, and cicadas have appeared in deafening throngs.

Niwa climate scientist Gregor Macara said the spate of hot temperatures this month had been "quite remarkable".

Chilton St James students Nicole Wester, 16, and Olivia Jordan, 17 enjoying an icecream at Frank Kitts Lagoon on Tuesday.

"We certainly are well on track for the hottest February on record [since 1927].

* Wellington warm spell boosts hospitality sector
* Wellington sizzles as temperatures top 30C

"It's subject to change, but the temperatures are tracking so high it'll take quite a change to bring those back down. It's quite exciting."

The temperatures were remaining hot through the night, too, MetService communications meteorologist Lisa Murray said.

"We've had a run of warmer days and quite high overnight minimums, we're talking up to 19 degrees overnight.

"In Wellington people really feel it, it makes it hard to sleep."

People were likely to be suffering sleep deprivation from the unusually hot nights, Massey University Sleep/Wake Research Centre research officer Karyn O'Keeffe said.

"It can take longer to fall asleep and people will have less deep sleep, and less dream sleep (REM), and we wake up more overnight.

"Not concentrating, not making good decisions, not getting on with others are some of the immediate effects."

The key to getting sleep on a hot night was cooling your body temperature, Sleep Well Clinics NZ director Alex Bartle said.

"Your sleep will be disturbed if you can't get rid of the heat. We don't advise people to just lie in bed if you're too hot. Get up and allow yourself to cool down and then snuggle down.

"If you want to sleep without PJs that's fine. You just need to be able to drop your heat."

But while people may have been suffering from disturbed sleep, they may also have been feeling happier, and fighting off infection better.

With more sunny days comes more skin exposure to the sun, boosting the production of vitamin D.

"We know that vitamin D is important for bone health, and we know it's an integral part of the immune response to infection," Massey University Vitamin D Research Centre co-director Pamela von Hurst said.

Many studies had also shown a correlation between vitamin D and good moods. However, "correlation does not infer causation", she said.

"People could just be generally healthier because good vitamin D levels improve our resistance to infection, and let's face it, we all do just feel better when the sun is shining and its a lovely day."

The Emergency Department at Wellington Regional Hospital had also seen "one or two" cases of "very nasty sunburn", head of emergency medicine Andre Cromhout said.

He urged people to wear sunscreen and take care when outside in the direct sun. "Put on a hat, wear sunscreen and stay hydrated."


* 19.8 degrees Celsius the average temperature so far

* 24C the average daily high

* 18 days since rain recorded at Wellington Airport

* Eight days of 26C or higher, compared with just one day last year

* Wellington has had almost double the sunshine hours of Auckland


The dry spell of the past 18 days, save for a smattering of less than 1mm this morning, may be about to end.

Wellington is likely to see rain and wind on Wednesday and Thursday, with the sun coming out again on

Turns out they were spectaclarly wrong and I was right (for Wellington).  This is what NIWA were forecasting back at the beginning of December

3 Deember, 2015

If you feel like the winter blues just won't go away, you could be right.

Bad news for Wellington holiday-makers: the blustery, cool El Nino summer ahead doesn't look like one to remember.

The windy, cool, drizzly weather that began the season this week is a herald of things to come, say National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research scientists looking out over the next three months.

South Island regions soar towards 30C

4 February, 2016

Kiwis knew they were in for another hot day but temperatures have soared towards 30 degrees Celsius in the south.

Timaru was the first to reach 30 degrees Celsius on Thursday, with the town and its big sister city playing a game of cat and mouse in the race to the top.

The garden city was enjoying 28C by 10.30am. By 11am, Timaru had caught up, then Christchurch hit 29C around 11.15am.


Here comes the big wet: Fierce storms batter the country

Rain radar. Photo / MetService
Thunderstorms are expected in Fiordland, Westland, Buller, Nelson, Marlborough and Mt Taranaki.
• It's going to be windy in Wellington.
• Heavy rain is expected over the rest of the country.

17 February, 2016

Raincoats ready and gumboots on, it's about to get wild out there.
The MetService is warning a nasty weather system rolling in from the Tasman Sea today has large swathes of New Zealand in its sights, as it drags a series of fronts bringing heavy rain and thunderstorms on to the country.
It'll be a drenching for some, but best to leave the brollies at home -- gale-force winds are also likely for some.
The MetService updated heavy rain warnings this morning to include the ranges of the eastern Bay of Plenty, Taupo and Taihape.
They had last night warned the north and west of the South Island, from Nelson and Marlborough down the west coast to Fiordland, as well as Mt Taranaki and the central North Island high country, to expect heavy rain.
Barring the central North Island high country, those areas could also expect thunderstorms through to tomorrow morning, the MetService warned.
The rainmaker is the result of a series of Tasman Sea fronts moving over the country from today until Friday.
"The heaviest falls are expected to be about Westland, where another 300mm could accumulate about the ranges, on top of what has already fallen."
Coastal Westland could expect 100mm to 150mm today, with more heavy rain tomorrow. The ranges of Nelson, the Richmond Range and Mt Taranaki were likely to receive 200mm, with 100mm expected in coastal Nelson. Up to 200mm could also fall over 36 hours from this evening in the central North Island high country, they warned.
"This is a significant amount of rain for these areas, and people are advised that streams and rivers will rise rapidly, slips and surface flooding are also possible."
A watch has also been issued for severe gale-force winds in parts of Canterbury, Nelson, Marlborough, Wellington, Taranaki and Whanganui from this afternoon until tomorrow morning.
Squally rain bands sprinkled Auckland this morning, and showers were also expected in Hamilton, Tauranga and Wellington.
WeatherWatch head analyst Philip Duncan said social media was "lighting up" as those desperate for rain got it.
"Some of the rain will be locally very heavy, fuelled by moisture rich subtropical air and slowed down by our hills and ranges but also a very large blocking high to the east of the country.
"It's possible downpours in the west and northwest may cause localised flooding."
Meanwhile, Cyclone Winston has re-intensified back to a severe, category three, cyclone. It has been tracking northeast towards Tonga, after being pushed away from New Zealand by a large high.
Tropical Cyclone Winston has moved so far back north it has returned to a Category 3 cyclone, making it severe again. Photo / MetService
However, tomorrow it is likely to do a U-turn and begin tracking back the way it came, Mr Duncan said.
"Long-range models are still conflicted about what happens to Winston once it finally starts to properly drop south. Today reliable models show the cyclone tracking back towards New Zealand to our northeast around February 23 onwards."
Models showed it dropping south and weakening well before reaching the North Island or coming further on to the North Island, he said.
"We'll certainly need a couple more days to lock in the future path of this cyclone with a mind of its own."
Projected swell map for Feb 23. Photo / WEATHERMAP.CO.NZ Wind map for Feb 23. Photo / MetService Rain and weather map for Feb 23. Photo / WEATHERMAP.CO.NZ

Weather caused traffic disruption

Today's weather caused disruption in Auckland this morning.
Auckland Transport spokesman Mark Hannan could not be contacted, but the council-controlled organisation tweeted just after 8.30am that Gulf Harbour ferries had been cancelled because of the weather and ferry services would be operated by bus until further notice
Road and rail commuters also faced headaches getting to work this morning.
A four-minute power outage between Westfield and Wiri at 7.32am caused delays and cancellations on the Eastern, Onehunga and Southern lines.
And there were slow journeys on almost all the city's motorways. Breakdowns, now cleared, on State Highway 1 and State Highway 20A, the main road to Auckland International Airport, snarled up morning rush-hour traffic.
Traffic was also at a crawl in the west.
A motorist travelling to the city from West Auckland described an agonisingly slow journey just before 9.30am.
"I'm in West Harbour and it took 20 minutes to get on to the Royal Rd on-ramp and it's taken an hour from Royal Rd to coming up to Newton now."
A mid-morning crash also caused delays when it blocked the right city-bound lane on the Southern Motorway just before Takanini, and a serious crash also closed Beach Rd in Browns Bay before 9am. Police confirmed a person was critically injured.
In southeast Auckland, three people were hurt when a van and a car collided on the Clevedon-Kawakawa Rd at Kawakawa Bay.
The New Zealand Herald understands the 8.30am crash involved a mail delivery van and a car, and mail lay scattered over the road.
Inspector Barry Smalley, of Auckland, said one person with moderate to serious injuries was trapped following the crash and was being extracted by emergency services. Two others had less serious injuries.

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