2 Jan 2019

Eastern areas bake as mercury hits summer heights

8:23 pm on 2 January 2019

Temperatures soared in towns across eastern parts of New Zealand today, registering as one of the hottest days of summer so far.

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Photo: 123RF

However, the weekend is expected to take a turn for the worst for some regions, with gales and rain expected for parts of the South Island and lower parts of the North Island.

Blenheim was the hottest spot in the country, reaching 32.1C.

MetService said it was one of the hottest days so far this summer.

Napier, Christchurch, Oamaru, Timaru, Ashburton and Alexandra all passed the 30C mark.

It said northwesterly winds coming from across the Alps and the ranges of the North Island were causing the air to dry out and warm up as it came down the leeward side of the mountains.

This had caused hot temperatures downstream in eastern parts of both islands.

While tomorrow was expected to be slightly cooler, Metservice said more 30C days could be on their way for the country's east coast this weekend.

A front is forecast to reach the lower South Island Saturday night.

Periods of rain are expected about the lower South Island from Saturday to Sunday. The front should then move northeast over New Zealand on Monday.