Tuesday, 16 January 2018

More hot weather in South Island and in Lower Hutt

Unmentioned anywhere in the media but I'm sure Lower Hutt has seen a record, certainly in weather that goes down.

It has not gone down lower than 18C (about the average) in almost two months.

You know what they say about the English and the weather. Now it's almost a taboo story.

Climate certainly is.

Here's what they say:

Throughout the month of January daytime temperatures will generally reach highs of around 20°C that's about 69°F. At night the average minimum temperature drops down to around 14°C, that's 57°F.

"In recent times the highest recorded temperature in January has been 28°C that's 82°F, with the lowest recorded temperature 1°C, about 33°F.

Weather: Sweltering sun brings record heat above 30C

Our weather station at Dunedin Airport recorded 35C at 3.12pm today (minute data), which would make this the hottest day on record for Dunedin Airport since records began in 1972. ^Lisa

16 January, 2018

Southern New Zealand cities sweltered in temperatures above 30C yesterday but cooler temperatures are forecast in the coming days as rain and windy weather sweep the country.

However, eastern regions of the South Island will have little reprieve as the heat continues to bear down. A total fire ban is in force for Otago and Southland, among other areas.

In the north, Lower Hutt hit a sweltering 31.5C yesterday, with the capital at a more balmy 27.8C, which MetService meteorologist Brian Mercey called unusually high for this time of year.

Down south, Dunedin Airport soared to a high of 33.9C, the fourth-highest recorded temperature for the city. The record was set in 2004 at 34.6C.

Alexandra hit 31.3C and Wanaka hit 30C yesterday. The tiny settlement of Edievale, south of Roxburgh in Otago, was absolutely scorching at 35C.

Auckland and Hamilton were much cooler at 26C, Tauranga at 24C, and Rotorua a "chilly" 22C.

Mercey said the south would have temperatures in the 30s again today but it would feel cooler thanks to a breeze and it would cool down even further tomorrow.

The hot weather resulted in a significant drop in the flow of the Whitestone River in Fiordland, prompting Fish and Game Southland to rescue fish including brown and rainbow trout, adult lampreys, upland bullies and long-fin eels yesterday afternoon which were marked to be released further down the catchment, Fairfax Media reported.

MetService meteorologist Tui McInnes said once a low pressure system reached the country it would spread a "front across the country bringing plenty of moisture and decent amounts of rainfall for some places". Tomorrow western parts of both islands are expected to have rain, with Nelson, Westland and Taranaki the wettest.

A severe weather watch is in place for heavy rain for Westland and Nelson, with the possibility of more regions being added.

While it looked to be a wet week for many, eastern regions in the South Island remained sheltered by the Southern Alps, McInnes said.

Fire and Emergency New Zealand rural regional manager Mike Grant said conditions had been incredibly dry in the south, and soil moisture levels were very low.

"We've had a few millimetres of rain here and there over the past six weeks, but the grass and vegetation is still tinder dry.

"That coupled with the extremely hot weather we've been having means the fire danger is really high. We had an unprecedented run of hot weather lately, certainly for Invercargill the heat has been record-breaking," Grant said.

A total fire ban remained in place for Gisborne, Horowhenua, Rangitikei and Marlborough.

On Thursday most of the North Island will have rain but the wet weather will begin to ease by Friday.

Today's forecast


Cloudy with showers, High 25C Low 20C.

Auckland: Cloudy with showers, High 25C Low 19C.

Hamilton: Fine with morning cloud, High 24C Low 17C

Tauranga: Cloudy with showers, High 23C Low 19C

Wellington: Cloud with showers then fine, High 25C Low 16C

Christchurch: Morning cloud then fine, High 26C Low 16C

Dunedin: Fine then showers in afternoon, possibly heavy, High 28C Low 18C

Dunedin's hottest day

Dunedin is officially having its hottest day on record, hitting 35 degrees celsius.

16 January, 2018

MetService forecaster Cameron Coutts said the heat was recorded at the airport at 3.12pm today.

The city's previous hottest day was 34.9°C, and its previous hottest January day was 34.7°.

Records go back to 1972.

Mr Coutts said Dunedin was the hottest place in the country today, but noted the city would be slightly cooler than at the airport.

Southern District Health Board made a plea yesterday for people to keep cool, when 30 people went to hospital after the mercury hit 32.3° in Invercargill, its hottest on record.

Deputy chief medical officer Dr Tim Mackay said Invercargill had another eight people show up in hospital because of the heat today, mostly children with sunburns.

"So it's just about making sure that kids get some sunscreen on," he said.

"One of the other problems that tends to happen now when you've had a couple of hot nights is it can start to affect the elderly so it's best to keep an eye on older people."

The hot and dry weather is driving river levels in Otago to new lows, with one site in the region at its lowest since records began in 1982.

NIWA's drought index shows the district is "extremely dry", with temperatures hitting 33° in Alexandra today.

Otago Regional Council manager of environmental services Martin King told RNZ the low flows were starting to hurt the environment and the local community.

MetService is predicting some rain for Thursday but Mr King said the region needed a more sustained downpour to help replenish the rivers in a sustainable way.

Compulsory restrictions may be enforced if residents did not conserve water, the council said.

Council water manager Tom Dyer said water levels in the city's catchments were dropping while demand was increasing.

If rain did not fall this week and demand continued, the city would need to move to the first level of compulsory restrictions before the weekend.

Voluntary restrictions have been in place in the city since early December, but water use is now more than 35 percent above normal.

Dr Mackay urged people to drink at least two litres of water per day, use their heat pumps for air-conditioning or get cool, damp towels on the backs of people's necks to cool them down.

"Dehydration can occur quite quickly, and with these hot conditions being less common in Southland, it's possible people are not as quick to pick up on the symptoms," he said.

"We ask people to de particularly careful about the effects of drinking alcohol in the hot weather. Far from quenching your thirst it will speed up dehydration, and can be quite serious."

Fire and Emergency have imposed a total fire ban across Otago from midnight on Monday.

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