Warmest September in Otago's history

September was a record-breaking weather month for Otago, with Dunedin reaching its highest temperature, 25.6degC, since records began in 1947.

Northwesterly conditions on September 23 were responsible for the high temperatures which also broke records at Nugget Point (23.9degC), Timaru (26.8degC) and Kaikoura (25.5degC).

In its September national climate summary, the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (Niwa) said the national average temperature was 11.1degC, 0.7degC above average for the month although temperatures were well above average in Central Otago and South Canterbury.

Also benefiting from the warm weather pattern was Balclutha (23degC) and Dunedin airport (24.5degC) which received their second highest temperatures since records began and Cromwell (24.1degC) and Gore (20.9degC) which reached their third highest temperature.

At the other end of the scale, Alexandra experienced the coldest temperature nationwide for the month at -6degC, although it was not close to a record for the town.

That went to Cromwell, which experienced a record extreme mean minimum air temperature of 6.1degC, its lowest since records began in 1949.

Extreme minimum temperatures were also experienced at Balclutha (-4.2degC) on the 4th, the lowest temperature since 1964 and Queenstown airport (-3.9degC) on the 5th, the third lowest since 1871.

While there were much fewer extreme weather events during September, compared to July and August, Otago had the distinction of experiencing the majority of those to hit the country.

The northwesterly on the 23rd, which brought the east coast's high temperatures, also resulted in high winds and heavy rain at Mount Cook.

Crosswinds averaging 70kmh and gusting up to 100kmh disrupted flights around Otago and brought down trees.

An extreme wind gust of 117kmh on the 21st was the second highest experienced at Dunedin airport since records began.

Heavy rain affected the region on the 27th, with Queenstown receiving 25mm and Wanaka 20mm between 8am and noon and a landslip north of Lake Hawea reducing SH6 to one lane for most of the afternoon.

Also on the 27th snow fell to about 220m in Otago and Southland with Arrowtown and Naseby getting 10cm, St Bathans 13cm and Jolly's Pass 15cm.


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