South’s weather tipped to be warmer, drier than average

While some may be getting frustrated at the patchy summer we have been having, Niwa weather forecasters are urging southerners to keep their hats on — literally.

"Boy, this January, after starting really cool, has done a complete 180 degrees, and the last 10 days have been scorching for many parts of the country," Niwa meteorologist Ben Noll said.

And that was expected to continue.

Niwa expects the next three months will be warmer and drier than average in Otago and Southland.

Southland and Otago temperatures are about equally likely to be near average or above average, and soil moisture levels and river flows are most likely to be below normal.

Rainfall totals are most likely to be near normal in Southland and inland Otago, and below normal in Coastal Otago.

Mr Noll said the primary climate driver during February-April was expected to be a warm pool of ocean water in the west-central Pacific Ocean, and increasing coastal sea surface temperatures were also expected to influence New Zealand’s air temperatures.

The change in climate drivers would most likely be associated with a change in circulation patterns and an increasing threat for periodic, heavy rainfall events.

High humidity may also be a factor.

Despite the turnaround, Mr Noll said it was safe to say the region would not be breaking any temperature-related records this summer.

"I think what did you in was the fact that you had a cool start to the summer, which has pulled down the seasonal averages.

"That’s not to say you won’t have some really hot days coming up — some one-day heat extremes.

"In fact, this weekend looks like it’s going to be pretty darn toasty for you guys down in the South.

"But I don’t think they’re going to be going in the record books."

Having said that, he advised residents to "keep your hats on, wear sunscreen, keep the chilly bin stocked, and respect those fire bans around the country".

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