The umbrellas will be out again - but this time they'll be
the beach kind, according to a bright summer weather outlook
predicting the opposite of dismal conditions that doused
holiday plans last year.
A newly released seasonal climate outlook by Niwa forecasted
all regions in the North Island and Nelson and Marlborough
enjoying normal to dry weather over the next few months, with
rainfall likely to stay at least within normal levels for the
"The prediction we are going for almost looks the reverse of
last year for the early summer period," climate scientist
Georgina Griffiths said.
Temperatures over last year's opening summer months had been
checked by a La Nina pattern, bringing months that were wet,
cloudy or cold and depriving sun-seekers of the usual helping
of hot clear days.
"If we had a weak El Nino, it's the opposite of what we had
last year - and if we don't we are still expecting
southwesterlies more than last year, when we had easterlies."
Oceanic indicators in the west and central tropical Pacific
remained close to El Nino thresholds, but the atmosphere had
yet to show any significant response to the warmer than
normal sea surface temperatures.
Ms Griffiths put the chance of a weak El Nino developing at
50-50 - but Niwa's outlook wasn't dependent on such an
"The key message is there's going to be a dry flavour to the
early summer period."
In contrast, most areas of the South Island could still
expect near-normal rainfall.
Soil moisture and river flows were forecast to follow the
same regional patterns as rainfall, except that soil moisture
levels were likely to be below normal in the north of the
North Island, and both soil moisture levels and river flows
were likely to be below normal in the east of the North
Areas such as Gisborne and Hawkes Bay would need to be
watched closely as soil moisture levels were already down, Ms
Meanwhile, temperatures were likely to be average or above
average in the north and east of the North Island and near
average in other regions.
Sea surface temperatures were also expected to remain near
average around the country.
- Jamie Morton of the NZ Herald