June could be hottest on record

It has been an unseasonably warm June. Image: Daniel Hines/SunLive.

A weather roller coaster is coming to the country before the end of the month.

NIWA meteorologist Ben Noll says Aotearoa can expect an unseasonably mild weekend followed by a surge of freezing air early next week.

“We are on track for the warmest June on record,” says Ben.

“The last few weeks have been substantially warmer than average across the country prompted by warm sea temperatures in the western Pacific fuelling northerly low pressure systems bringing warm air to New Zealand.

“The warmth was also due to a stronger-than-normal polar vortex. This is an expanse of cold, stormy air over Antarctica that has been particularly efficient at preventing outbreaks of cold air into the Southern Hemisphere mid-latitudes, especially in New Zealand,” says Ben.

Up until June 20 the nationwide average temperature was 10.97 degrees, well above the long-term average of 8.59 degrees.

Ben says if the month ended today, it would become the country’s warmest June on record, according to NIWA’s seven-station series.

The highest temperature was 22 degrees at Leigh on June 19 and there are now more than 80 locations tracking toward a record or near-record warm June including Kaitaia, Whangarei, Auckland, Gisborne, Whanganui, Palmerston North, Wellington, Nelson, Greymouth, Hokitika, Milford Sound and Wanaka.

Ben predicts an unseasonably warm weekend coming up with mild nights in the 10-15 degrees range and daytime temperatures possibly exceeding 20 degrees in some places in the north and east of both islands.

Depending on your location, however, the warmth won’t necessarily come with dry weather.

Heavy rain in Fiordland and the West Coast on Friday and Saturday could cause flooding and slips, resulting from a plume of tropical moisture extending down from southern Indonesia.

Strong north-westerly winds will buffet the Alps and race through the Cook Strait and Wellington on Saturday and Sunday.

A surge of freezing air from the Southern Ocean could approach the country from June 28 or 29, bringing a chance for snow to low levels and icy, strong southerly winds.

A return to milder conditions is possible during the first week of July.

NIWA research has shown that New Zealand winters have been consistently shorter than they used to be.

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