22 Jan 2024

Heat alerts issued across NZ after days of hot weather

From Checkpoint, 5:20 pm on 22 January 2024
Oriental Bay beach, Wellington

Beachgoers at Oriental Bay earlier this month. Photo: Soumya Bhamidipati / RNZ

Parts of the country have again been sizzling in super-hot weather, with some areas tipping over 30C. 

MetService on Monday issued heat alerts for 18 towns and cities - all the way from Kaitaia to Blenheim - after days of sustained high temperatures.

Wellington Airport reached 29.6C - the hottest it has been in January since records began 53 years ago.

But in good news for those struggling with the sweltering heat, things should at last cool down from Tuesday.

Desperate to beat the heat, Aucklanders flocked to Takapuna Beach on the North Shore, where temperatures reached a scorching 29.7C.

Valeria Machain said the sea was the only place to be on a day like this.

"It is pretty hot, but it's nice to have all these beaches around so we can cool down. We definitely come here to get in the water, so we can deal with the heat."

Jan Wallace pulled out all the stops in order to stay cool.

"Putting the air-conditioner on really cold, and sitting in a cold room, and jumping in a cold shower. It's the only way to cope."

Beachgoer David Spencer said the heat had led to restless nights.

"I usually get a fan running if I find it most difficult," said Spencer. "I've kept the fan running and I've been getting to sleep that way."

But he said it was the perfect time to get outdoors.

"I've been outside a lot more. It's not exactly the sort of weather you'd stay at home cooped up with work or with schoolwork - you have to get out and do something."

Another sure-fire way to cool down: ice cream. And sure enough, Ben Schurr from TipTop said they had seen a bump in sales over summer.

"We've seen, over the last couple of weeks, some record sales volumes on some of our key summer products like Fruju and Popsicle, as the sun's been shining and the weather's been really hot."

MetService meteorologist Clare O'Connor said the heat was not confined to any particular region.

"A couple of places have seen their hottest day so far this year, as well as this summer. In particular, we're feeling it in the capital, our station in Kelburn reached 27.5C yesterday, which is its hottest temperature since 2019."

But cooler temperatures are on the way.

"It is coming to a brief respite with a cold front approaching, with cold southwesterlies," O'Connor said.

"That is going to be moving up the country from tomorrow, Tuesday, across the North Island Wednesday."