No sign of winter yet

May 3, 2016

April was extremely sunny, very warm and rather dry for many regions of the country. The culprit was once again High pressure, which has ruled the roost over New Zealand since the start of 2016.

Nelson recorded its sunniest April ever (with 248 hours of bright sunshine) and Wellington was also extremely sunny, experiencing one-in-thirty-year April sunshine. Above average temperatures were felt throughout New Zealand for the fourth month running, with temperatures typically 1.0 – 1.5C above usual. Southland was a stand-out, with temperatures 2C above the April average and the second warmest April on record for Invercargill.

“Autumn 2016 has been remarkably warm,” MetService Meteorologist Georgina Griffiths noted. “And there is no sign of winter for May.” MetService are forecasting a high frequency of northwesterly winds in May. That, coupled with the remarkably warm seas around the country, should produce an extremely mild May for all regions. Monthly temperatures are signalled to run in the order of 1.5C to 2C above the May norm, which could mean record or near-record warmth in some locations. Some cold or even frosty spells are possible, but the frequency of southerly winds is likely to be well down for the time of year.

“There is some change on the horizon, however,” said Griffiths. “We expect the high pressures to take a break next week, with low pressure and healthy rainfall signalled for many regions in the second week of the month.” This will be welcome news after a relatively dry April. “Unfortunately, below normal May rainfall totals are forecast for those regions which have been the driest, namely eastern regions of both islands, as well as for Wellington,” Griffiths said.

A wetter than usual May is forecast for Westland and Fiordland, with normal to above normal rainfall predicted for the southwest North Island between Taranaki and Palmerston North, as well as for Buller and Southland.A drier than normal May is forecast for Gisborne, Hawkes Bay and Wairarapa, Wellington, Marlborough and Canterbury. In all other regions, rainfall totals should end up fairly close to normal, noting that the bulk of the rainfall is signalled for the second week of May.

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