'Big dry' could bring record November highs

by RNZ / 23 November, 2017
RelatedArticlesModule - climate

And the weather in Cromwell is...a scorcher. Photo / NIWA

La Nina conditions in the Pacific are having an impact on the South Island's scorching temperatures.

A taste of summer is on the way for the weekend and if the "big dry" continues it could bring record or near-record November temperatures, the National Institute of Atmospheric and Water Research (Niwa) says.

Niwa says an "immense dome" of high pressure has settled over the entire country and could bring record high temperatures to parts of the inland South Island.

It's also very dry so far this month, after a generally wet 2017 for the country.

A year ago, Wellington was in the middle of its wettest November on record - 240.6mm of rainfall in the month - and flooding. This month the capital has recorded 17.2mm so far and is tracking for one of the driest November rainfall levels on record.

Christchurch Airport had only 1mm of rain so far this month and is tracking for the driest November since records began in 1863. Lincoln, with 0.4mm of rain, is also tracking toward its driest November since records began there in 1881.

Niwa said the "big dry" is being influenced by La Nina conditions in the Pacific.

On Wednesday, Cromwell in the South Island hit 31.6°, the second warmest spring temperature on record for the town. In the last 31 days, the Central Otago town was warmer than 20° on 24 days, Niwa said.

MetService's official maximum for Wednesday was 29.5° in Wanaka. (MetService does not have a weather station in Cromwell).

Wanaka is set for 29°C today, with high temperatures until next week at least. Wellington, Nelson and Christchurch get to 21° today, the forecast says.

MetService forecaster Gerrit Keyser said Wanaka was about two degrees off its November record on Wednesday. Alexandra reached 28°.

The MetService forecast for the weekend. Photo / MetService

He said there could be the odd isolated shower about the ranges in the next few days, and some cloud in the mornings or overnight.

The MetService says the large high-pressure system is forecast to cover the country from Thursday until Monday.

This article was originally published by RNZ.

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