Lowest temperatures for January

Some of the lowest sunshine and temperatures figures recorded in Otago in any January made for a cool, cloudy month.

Temperatures in Otago were up to 2.5degC lower than usual for the month, Niwa's January climate report shows.

Niwa research meteorologist Dr Richard Turner said the significantly lower temperatures for the time of the year were the result of a strong southwesterly flow anomaly across the country.

The January nationwide average temperature was 16.2degC, 0.9degC below the 1971-2000 average.

Temperatures in Otago towns were lower.

Alexandra recorded its second-lowest mean January temperature of 15.5degC, 2.2degC below normal, Cromwell had 15.2degC, 2.5degC below, Balclutha 13.2degC, 1.9degC below and Dunedin 13.9degC, 1.4degC below.

Maximum air temperatures were also lower than normal in Balclutha which recorded its lowest mean January high of 17.6degC, 2.7degC lower than normal, and Alexandra which recorded its third lowest high of 21.9degC, 2.8degC lower.

Cromwell had its third-lowest mean minimum temperature, 8.6degC, 2.4degC lower than normal. Queenstown had only 146 hours of sunshine, its lowest since 1930, being only 63% of normal.

Well above normal rainfall was recorded in Central Otago but not enough to break, or near, record levels.

Although Dunedin was cool, its rainfall and sunshine levels were about normal for January with 59mm of rain, 80% of normal, and 184 hours of sunshine, 102% of normal.

Dunedin was the coolest and cloudiest of New Zealand's main centres, Christchurch the driest, Wellington the wettest and Tauranga the sunniest.

rebecca.fox@odt.co.nz

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