3 Feb 2015

Record sunshine in January

8:39 pm on 3 February 2015

January was one for the record books with many of the main centres clocking up high numbers of sunshine hours.

A festival-goer at Laneway enjoys the sun in Auckland on 26 January 2015.

A festival-goer at Auckland's Laneway enjoys the January sun. Photo: RNZ / Diego Opatowski

Just over 308 hours of sunshine were recorded in Auckland, making it the city's sunniest month on record.

Dunedin also enjoyed record sunshine while Tauranga was just six minutes short of breaking its January sunshine record.

MetService meteorologist Georgina Griffiths sad January was one of the sunniest on record.

She said most areas also had their third or fourth driest January since records began.

New Zealand had been covered with high pressure system than blocked rain bands. "Stand out for holidaying, challenging for farming," said Ms Griffiths.

Some parts of the country had had more rain in the first few days of February than in all of January, said Ms Griffiths.

"We may well see January 2015 being warmer, and drier, than February 2015. That's not how it usually goes".

Warmer weather to continue

Warmer weather for all areas of the country is forecast to continue during the next three months. NIWA forecaster Chris Brandolino said there may be cold snaps, but temperatures will be above average overall.

Rainfall should be near normal for the north of the North Island and the top and the west of the South Island. The east and west of the North Island should have near or above normal rainfall, while for the east of the South Island, it should be near or below normal.

However MetService said some parts of the country have already had more rain the first three days of this month than they had in all of January.

Meteorologist Georgina Griffiths said a weather system parked over the country during the month would not allow rain to move through but change was on the way, with westerlies moving in.

"These highs have fended off the rain bands. They kind of look like a big fat thing on your weather map, and they just don't move.

"I mean, they're not called blocking highs for nothing. It's kind of like your plumbing system, your toilet. When it's blocked, nothing moves," she said.

January sunshine hours

  • Auckland Region: 308 hours - sunniest January on record, sunniest month on record (since 1963)
  • Tauranga: 327.5 hours - second sunniest January and second sunniest month (since 1932)
  • Hamilton: 290 hours - fourth sunniest January (since 1936)
  • Wellington: 279 hours - not a record (observations since 1928)
  • Christchurch: 229 hours - not a record (in observations since 1949)
  • Dunedin: 246 hours - second sunniest January (since 1947)

January rainfall

  • Wanganui: 1.6mm - second driest January ( since 1890)
  • Palmerston North: 11.4mm - second driest January (since 1943)
  • Wellington (Kelburn): 5.4 mm - second driest January (since 1928)

January rainfall - main centres

  • Auckland 13.6mm
  • Tauranga 8.4mm
  • Hamilton 47mm
  • Wellington: 5.4mm
  • Christchurch: 18mm
  • Dunedin: 22.6mm