Spring weather 50% wetter, tops records

''Century-old'' spring weather records have been swept aside across the Otago region this year, after a season that had nearly 50% more rainfall than normal.

Niwa meteorologist Ben Noll said Middlemarch recorded 305mm over September, October and November - the highest spring rainfall since records began in 1896.

It was 2½ times more than the previous record, and more than the 296mm which fell in the whole of 2003.

Lauder set a record of 216mm, the highest since records began in 1924; Oamaru recorded 326mm (records began in 1941), more than three times higher than the normal spring rainfall; and Gore had 333mm, the highest rainfall since records began in 1907.

Ranfurly also broke a century-old record when it received 53mm of rain on November 8 - the highest one-day extreme rainfall since records began in 1897.

The extreme rainfall pushed the town to its second-highest spring rainfall total of 197mm.

Dunedin had 261mm, 57% more than normal for spring.

Mr Noll said temperatures were near average across the country during spring.

Milford Sound recorded 25.9degC on November 25, the highest spring temperature since records began in 1934.

Alexandra posted -5.6degC on September 7, the lowest spring temperature since records began in 1992.

Mr Noll said in September, the weather was defined by frequent high pressure systems, particularly over the southwest of New Zealand.

''This influenced more southeasterly wind flows than normal and led to below normal rainfall across interior and western parts of both islands during September and across much of the North Island and the western South Island during October.''

The tables were turned during November, when sea level pressure over the Tasman Sea was lower-than-normal and higher-than-normal to the south of the country.

''This pressure squeeze influenced several extreme rainfall events in eastern and inland parts of New Zealand, with century-old rainfall records being broken in some locations.''

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