28 Feb 2017

NIWA confirms Wellington's no good, very bad summer

6:34 am on 28 February 2017

This summer now ranks as Wellington's windiest in 14 years, and one of its cloudiest ever too.

Clouds build on above the hills on Wellington's Miramar Peninsula.

Clouds building on above the hills on Wellington's Miramar Peninsula last month. Photo: RNZ / Rebekah Parsons-King

Wellingtonians have been complaining about the lack of sun for some weeks now.

This summer's peak temperature was a mere 26°C, reached last week.

The National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA) has now said the capital had 31 "windy days" this summer, the most in 14 years.

A "windy day" is defined as a day with gusts topping 72 km/hr.

The strongest wind was recorded at Wellington Airport on 18 January, where a gust hit 116.7 km/hr - typical of a category 1 tropical cyclone.

"Up about 1000m in the atmosphere is a narrow belt of strong wind known as the jet stream," said NIWA.

"As spring switched into summer, the jet stream continued to blow relentlessly from the southwest, sending storm after storm from the Australian Bight across the southern Tasman towards New Zealand.

"This is something that is more common in the spring and winter rather than summer."

The institute also described the weather this summer as particularly "tumultuous".

NIWA said after tomorrow, it could end up rating as the fourth cloudiest in the city's history.

January had the least amount of sun on record.

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