5 Mar 2024

Summer sees peak temperature of 37C, makes top 10 warmest on record

8:23 pm on 5 March 2024
Summer in Eastbourne, Wellington.

Photo: RNZ / Rebekah Parsons-King

The last summer was a hot and dry one, with above average temperatures and below average rainfall for many parts of New Zealand.

The National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research's (NIWA) summer climate summary was released Tuesday, showing it was the ninth warmest summer on record, with a nationwide average temperature of 17.6C.

The sunniest spot in New Zealand this year has been Nelson, with 618 sunshine hours, closely followed by Tasman at 605 hours, Marlborough at 604 hours and Taranaki at 595 hours.

The highest temperature recorded over the summer was on 5 February in Hanmer Forest, hitting 37C.

The coldest spot over the summer was inland Canterbury on 25 January, dropping to just below 0C.

Milford Sound recorded the highest rainfall in a single day, with 330 millimetres dropping on 19 January.

For most parts of the South Island, the southern and western North Island and much of Northland, rainfall was between 50 and 79 percent of normal levels.

Summer temperatures were between 0.51C and 1.2C above average for most of the country.

The exception to the dry weather was the central North Island through to Hawke's Bay and Gisborne, with rainfall well above normal and more than 150 percent of the average in some areas.

There were more westerly winds for the South Island, which the summary said was characteristic of a strong, but waning El Niño.

Drought conditions were present at the end of the summer in Northland, East Cape, southern Manawatū-Whanganui, Wellington-Wairarapa, eastern Tasman, Nelson, Marlborough, North Canterbury and north-east Otago.

Those conditions contributed to several significant wildfires, the summary said.

Get the RNZ app

for ad-free news and current affairs