Chance of an early spring

Weather forecasters are predicting the chance of an early start to spring, with mild air flows pushing through the coldest point of the year. But there are still a few more cold nights in store for the South. head forecaster Philip Duncan said New Zealand often gets windier more spring-like weather arriving from mid August onwards, which should stop the nights from being so cold.

"WeatherWatch measures the seasons by weather patterns and how nature is reacting to them, as well as the time of the year we are in.

"Nature in New Zealand doesn't always match the astronomical or meteorological seasons.

"Our location on earth and geography of our country means New Zealand tends to have 8 months of autumn/spring weather and four months of winter/summer, in our minds," Duncan said.

"Traditionally the coldest period of the year nationwide is a month after the shortest day - which is in late June, so that is smack bang now.

"The warmer it is now the less likely we are to see further long extended runs of cold frosty weather day after day."

The Earth was at its farthest point from the sun, Aphelion, on July 7 and is now getting closer all the time until the closest point, Perihelion, on January 3, 2019.

Although we might be in line for an earlier spring, Duncan said winter was not over yet.

"When we talk about an early start to spring weather we don't mean that is the end of winter. In fact spring is all about winter 'slowly' fading away, but the word 'fading' is key.

"We may already be seeing winter weather fading in some areas now due to this early arrival of westerlies. For example, the upper half of the North Island isn't showing overnight lows that reflect the depths of winter."

However, major frosts and snow events can occur not only in August but also in September and October too, Duncan said.

"In fact it was mid August in 2011 that heavy snow fell in Wellington city and snow flurries fell as far north as Auckland city and the Northland ranges.

"That's unlikely to occur this year but, in the chaos of Southern Ocean weather, we cannot rule out a significant Antarctic blast," he said. said the next week or two would be dominated by westerly quarter winds, which would see few frosts and encourage more rain, especially in northern and western parts of the country.

There would even be a few days with sub-tropical and Australian air flows.

Around Southland and Otago there were still many cold winter days and nights ahead but double digit highs and above zero overnight lows were also in the mix in the next 10 days.

"So, we're not saying the wintry weather is all over, but we are saying the signs that spring is just around the corner will be increasingly noticed in the days and weeks ahead, despite the long nights at this time of the year," Duncan said.

"In fact, the days are now slowly getting longer so if you're an early riser or someone stuck in traffic at rush hour you may notice the little extra bits of daylight in the next couple of weeks, if you haven't already."

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