Winter milder than average

Otago's ''brilliant'' winter weather may give way to a cooler spring, weather watchers predict.

The region's warmer-than-normal winter, especially in the Maniototo, is likely to change to a cool September, MetService meteorologist Georgina Griffiths says.

''Southwesterlies prevailed over New Zealand during August,'' she said.

Below-average temperatures were generally observed across the country, with the exception of a handful of warm days to start and end the month.

Several cold spells brought snow during the month, the most significant on August 13-15, she said.

The first half of August was wet for the west and far south of the South Island.

''The second half of the month saw higher pressures over the South Island, with mostly dry conditions seen there,'' she said.

''Overall, lower-than-usual pressures are expected over New Zealand in September.''

At the start of the month, the lows would lie over the north of the country, while the South Island would get most of the dry weather and high pressure.

''But as we move further into the month, expect those lows to shuffle south towards Cook Strait, bringing rain for the remainder of the North Island.

"But in contrast, it looks like a relatively dry month for Southland and Otago.''

''A cool September is likely for Southland and Otago, and it looks a touch cooler for eastern areas of both islands as well.''

That meant for Dunedin it would be cooler and drier.

Dunedin hydrologist Dave Stewart said it had been ''obviously warmer than usual'' in Otago during winter, with below-average rainfall in most places.

Provisional winter figures from Niwa showed Wanaka was the only spot in Otago to get more rain than normal (180mm, 120% of normal) while Dunedin received the least with only 54% of normal in Musselburgh and 52% at the airport up to August 25.

Temperatures were higher than normal across the district, especially in Ranfurly, where its mean temperature (4.6degC) was 1.5degC higher than normal and its highest on record, as at August 25. Oamaru's mean daily maximum (11.9degC) was 1degC warmer than average.

Mr Stewart said the figures, if confirmed, showed Otago had its second milder-than-average winter in a row.

For the past week the region, especially Dunedin, had been enjoying the calm, settled weather normally seen in June.

Instead, June and July were very unsettled.

''The days have been really nice, no wind and warmer than average.''

For farmers, the conditions had made for a mostly dry ground for winter, but they would be hoping for more rain next month to promote grass growth, Mr Stewart said.

What this meant for summer depended on whether an El Nino weather pattern emerged and if so what type, he said.

''We'll have to wait and see.''

rebecca.fox@odt.co.nz

ODT/directory - Local Businesses

CompanyLocationBusiness Type
Central Security WanakaWanakaSecurity
12BarQueenstownNight Clubs
Markhams Clarke Craw LimitedDunedinBusiness Services
Jolly Rogers EntertainmentDunedinEntertainers