Tauranga gets highest sunshine hours in July

By Rebecca Savory

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Tauranga won the title of New Zealand's sunniest centre for July with the number of sunshine hours reaching well above average.

The latest Niwa climate summary showed the 172 sunshine hours were up on normal figures by 114 per cent.

Last month's good weather took the total sunshine hours for Tauranga for 2014 to 1433, the second sunniest centre for the year to date.

Below normal rainfall in Tauranga resulted in a dry July but soil moisture was reported as normal for this time of year.

Mount Maunganui Lifeguard Service General Manager Glenn Bradley said July had been a nice month at the beach, popular with surfers and school holiday goers.

"Certainly the second week of the school holidays lots of people were out and about at the beach."

The Mount was a hive of activity year-round but a mild and sunny winter was an advantage for them being Mount-based, he said.

Across town, Te Puke was among the warmest locations reaching an average air temperature of 10.8C and an extreme maximum high of 19.4C on July 31.

Tauranga's air temperature for July was considered near average and wind levels were not out of the ordinary, as were seen in the far North coupled with heavy rain.

Looking ahead, a slightly warmer than normal ocean was expected to be the reason behind a possible rise in temperature in Tauranga over the next few months.

Niwa's August to October outlook indicated the Bay of Plenty region was in for average or above average temperatures over the next three months.

Niwa forecaster Chris Brandolino said that although he could not rule out a "wicked cold snap, the overall flavour" for the next three months should be a little warmer than normal.

- BAY OF PLENTY TIMES

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