Monday, 15 January 2018

42 deg C in Southland – record termpertures in the Deep South of NZ

Heatwave in the Deeep South of New Zealand

The real situation

Via Facebook

I didn't believe this when I saw it in a comment yesterday but here it is!

Winton is in Southland in NZ's Deep South where the average temperature is 18.7 °C (65.7 °F).

The official figures are in the shade and at grass level, I believe so don't always reflect what we experience. Our temperatures are almost always hotter than the official figure.

When I had breakfast a 9 am the temperature on the kitchen table was 34C. It is 27C in the shade inside. Our house and garden is cooler than the are around on account of the shady trees. One feels relief from the heat the moment one walks through the garden under the wonderful magnolia tree which releases lots of wonderful oxygen.

This comment from on the ground in Invercargill reflects the true situation.

My partner said his boss will start sending people home early from the office once it reaches 30 degrees, and I know the freezing works will start having short days until we get some significant rain fall. No grass growth, meaning farmers will have to hold onto their stock until they can reach a saleable weight. That’s a Couple of thousand people affected In just one industry."

The role of the media is always to trivialise the important (like abrupt climate change) and to spread fear in the things that don’t (North Korea).

Invercargill narrowly edged out Gore as the hottest town in New Zealand on Sunday, in what was a sizzling day of temperatures in Southland. 

Invercargill reached 32.3C at 5.30pm on Sunday, its hottest day since 1921, while Gore was close behind on 32.1C.  

Metservice meteorologist Sarah Haddon said the conditions were caused by a high pressure system to the east of the South Island which, in combination with a low pressure system in the Tasman Sea, was drawing warm air down from the tropics. 

Jo Slade, from Waihopai in Invercargill, keeps his grandson Ruaumoko Pika-Hall amused while they cool off on a very warm day at Lake Te Anau.

In Gore, Sunbeam Milk Bar owner Eddie Cooney said frozen treats were the top priority for customers. 

"We've certainly been a bit above normal with the ice creams, although I think a lot of people are out to the beach as well today. 

Ice creams were in hot demand at Oreti Beach on Sunday.

"It certainly feels like [the hottest day on record] ... It's been about 30C inside here, and we've got every door and window open as well."

At E Hayes and Sons in Invercargill, floor supervisor John Rance said essential summer items had been selling fast, with electric fans already out of stock.

"We sold the last few over the weekend, but they've been ticking away nicely all summer." 
More than 1400 people were estimated to come through Oreti Beach on Sunday afternoon.
Elsewhere, Southlanders have been hitting the beaches in big numbers over the weekend to escape the heat. 

Oreti Beach Surf Lifesavers club captain Samantha Nielsen said the Invercargill beach was having its busiest weekend of the year. 

About 500 people made their way to Oreti Beach on Saturday, with more than 1000 expected to turn up on Sunday with the favourable conditions, Nielsen said. 

Eleven-year-old twins Jack and Lauren Bailey playing with their dog Jake at Oreti Beach, near Invercargill.

At 3pm at Oreti Beach, lifeguard Owen West said he estimated over 1400 people had made their way to the surf. 

Invercargill resident Damien Heffernan and daughter Teagan Heffernan had been at the beach both days of the weekend. 

"I haven't it seen it this good before, not two days in a row," Damien said.

Teagan said she had been enjoying her time at the beach, with her favourite activity being "jumping on sandcastles" (that she had made).

Scotty Aitken, who emigrated to Invercargill from Scotland 14 years ago, said the beach weather was the best it had been "in a long time".

"The last summer like this would have been about 13 or 14 years ago, when I first came out here." 

Environment Southland maritime officer Ian Coard said Taramea Bay in Riverton was full of swimmers but boating activity was about the same as recent weeks.

"There's heaps of people at the beach but we've got no jetskis or motorised boats – so that's no busier than it has been. 

"The swimmers are behaving themselves, there's a lot more out there than there has been ... there were lots [on Saturday] but there's even more today."

In Mataura, the Gore District Council are urging residents to conserve water immediately.

An extra pump has needed to be brought in, following reports from the council's 3 Waters team of a huge draw off of water in the town in the last two days. 

With temperatures around Southland expect to exceed 30C until Tuesday, emergency services are also on high alert to potential fire risks. 

On Saturday morning, Fire and Emergency New Zealand community and engagement co-ordinator Sally Chesterfield said the next 48 hours would be a critical period. 

"So far things have been good, there haven't been many callouts – just minor things. 

"We haven't hit the worst fire dangers today, which is likely to be tomorrow."

As the day progressed the heat began to make its impact felt however.

A fire communications spokeswoman said Southland firefighters were attending multiple calls in Gore, Mossburn, and the Awarua Plains. 

The spokeswoman said firefighters from Invercargill were called to Tiwai Rd near Hall Rd about 2.20pm where multiple fires were burning in vegetation.

Initial reports said the fire was in excess of 100 square metres, with firefighters concerned the fire could spread to a nearby stand of trees due to the wind conditions.

About 2.30pm, a call came in reporting a fire on the side of Ellis Rd, off the Mossburn - Five Rivers highway.

The vegetation fire was about 1km long and 100 metres wide, although firefighters had reported the fire was coming under control, the spokeswoman said.
Just before 3.30pm, Gore firefighters were called to a fire amongst gum trees and flax on Terry Road.

The spokeswoman said the fire was about 15 by 5 metres in size and was threatening powerlines.

Chesterfield said while Monday was expected to be a similar temperature to today, winds were expected to rise to a higher level. 

"It is incredibly dry at the moment.

"The fire danger is pretty consistent, it's high across most of Southland, but Western Southland and coastal areas are particularly high. 

"If you think of places like Mossburn, where the wind can really funnel through there."

Chesterfield said Fire and Emergency New Zealand were urging people not to light fires, and to be extra vigilant if they had to do so.
"Also, if people have had fires going in the past one to two months, they need to check that it is definitely out," Chesterfield said. 

"That means checking the middle of the pile to make sure the embers are out, because if the wind gets up they could spark back into life."

A Fire and Emergency spokesman said there had been several minor fires in Southland on Saturday, in Orepuki, Waikaka and Mataura. 

On Sunday morning, Metservice were forecasting a high temperature of 31C for Invercargill and Lumsden, with Gore expected to hit 30C and Te Anau 29C. 

The high temperature is expected to stick around on Monday, which is also predicted to hit 30C in Invercargill and Gore.

According to MetService, there have been only 18 months that recorded a temperature higher than 30C since 1905 in Invercargill.

Invercargill has just come out of the equal-driest year since records began in 1901.

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