Green Island temperature shows an unseaonal 17.3 degrees
last month. Photo by ODT.
Otago is heading for one of its warmest winters on record
but a cold southerly blast due to hit on Thursday could change
With five days to go until the official end of winter, many
Otago centres, including Dunedin, have so far recorded
record-breaking average temperatures.
Niwa figures show it has, so far, been the warmest winter in
66 years at Dunedin's Musselburgh station, in 105 years in
Oamaru and 89 years in Alexandra.
It has also been one of the wettest winters so far for
Central Otago, with Lauder recording its highest winter
rainfall since 1924, Alexandra its highest since 1983 and
Cromwell its second-highest.
Niwa climate scientist Andrew Tait said it would not be until
early next week, when all of the data for August would be
available, that records could be talked about. A change in
weather could mean the difference between a record-breaking
figure and a second-warmest temperature.
MetService meteorologist Dan Corbett said the glorious
weather and 15degC-18degC temperatures would come to a brief
halt on Thursday as a cold southerly brought rain and sleet
to the coast and snow inland, although temperatures were
still expected to reach 11degC.
''It'll be a sharp change.''
It would start to ease back on Friday with a high bringing
frosts and sunny, but cool, weather for the first days of
Hydrologist Dave Stewart, of Dunedin, said the figures also
obscured the fact that June was average for temperatures and
also very wet, while July and August had been dry and warm.
''It's definitely been warmer than usual and, even if we get
the rain forecast for later in the week, it'll be a
well-below-average rainfall month again.''
When the figures were pulled together as ''winter'' data, it
was wetter and warmer than usual, he said.
What this meant for spring and summer was up for debate. Many
pessimists believed the cold winter could still arrive, he
said. September and October could often be cold and wet.
''I hope we do not pay for this [warm winter] with a bad
The warm weather had allowed the ground to dry out after
June's downpours and the warmth since had brought on early
Farmers would now be looking for ''a good soaking'' before
the September winds, Mr Stewart said.
''They're absolutely delighted but they'll be suspicious and
wary of what is to come.''