Dunedin coolest but not wettest

Dunedin was the coolest and cloudiest of New Zealand's main centres for March, while Christchurch was the wettest.

The North Island was abnormally dry for the start of autumn, but the eastern areas of Otago and Canterbury received normal to well-above-normal rainfall, principal scientist Dr Mike Revell said.

Niwa's March climate summary showed Dunedin experienced 153% of normal rainfall at 98mm and Christchurch received 123mm, 269% of normal.

In comparison, Hamilton received 6mm or 7% of its normal rainfall - its second-driest March on record.

Dunedin's temperature was near average at 13.6degC and Christchurch's was below average at 13.7degC.

Although Dunedin was the cloudiest city, it received more sunshine than normal with 172 hours.

Elsewhere in Otago no weather records were broken, although Wanaka recorded its third-lowest March rainfall of 11mm, only 27% of normal.

The few moderate to heavy rainfalls during the month were due to abnormally high pressure over much of the country combined with periods of lower pressure, Dr Revell said.

Otago and Canterbury had wetter-than-normal soils for the time of year along coastal areas.

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