Anna is a reporter at the Bay of Plenty Times

March brings cooler temperatures

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Cooler temperatures look to replace February's record scoring temperatures. Photo / George Novak
Cooler temperatures look to replace February's record scoring temperatures. Photo / George Novak

March looks set to put a damper on February's sweltering days, granting a reprieve for Bay residents who have been sweltering through near-record highs.

A southerly is sweeping up the country at a slow pace, which will most likely see temperatures take a turn from a muggy heat and hot nights, to a dryer heat.

Metservice Communications meteorologist Lisa Murray said February was warm across New Zealand in all the main centres.

She said March would provide "a lot of reprieve", with cooler temperatures likely to make the hot nights "slightly more pleasant".

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February raised its average temperature to equal the 2011 record at 21.7 degrees in Tauranga, compared to the average of 19.6 degrees.

Niwa principal scientist in forecasting Chris Brandolino said Tauranga's temperatures last month were "impressive".

Both the average temperature and the maximum average were sitting at "above normal".

However, it was the minimum average temperatures which stood out, with night time and early morning averaging at 18.1 degrees.

"It's a whopping 2.6 degrees above the average, which is more than double the threshold. Well, well above average," Mr Brandolino said.

"By far more unusually warm at least for February," Mr Brandolino said.

He said a contributing factor behind the hot temperatures was the direction of the wind, with a lot of north-easterly winds bringing in the "warm and humid" weather.

Tauranga's proximity to water could have also helped keep the nights hot, with water temperatures warmest in February, when they usually helped cool temperatures.

It's a whopping 2.6 degrees above the average, which is more than double the threshold. Well, well above average.
Chris Brandolino, Niwa principal scientist in forecasting

Mr Brandolino said the hottest temperature recorded in Tauranga over this summer was 29.6 degrees.

Bay of Plenty locals were also feeling the heat, with some looking forward to the break the cooler temperatures and rain would bring.

Maria Franklin, of Mount Maunganui, said she had been enjoying the recent rain after the hot, dry spell, and had found a different way to cool down.

"It was really hot here and very muggy, it started to rain and got very heavy that the gutter on the roof couldn't handle the rain and overflowed.

"So I put my bikini on and had a rain bath," Ms Franklin said.

Papamoa resident Clementine Cuppen said she was looking forward to February ending and taking its high temperatures with it.

"Relief is on the way," Ms Cuppen said.

Ms Cuppen, originally from the Netherlands, said she was "not great at dealing with the weather".

"I dread this time of year. People can't function unless you're in air con."

Metservice meteorologist Chelsea Glue said although the recent weather would see residents "feeling a bit cooler", the temperatures would still be sitting around 22 degrees.

"It'll be a different kind of heat. Dry kind of heat, not muggy and oppressive," she said.

In terms of heat-related injuries or illnesses over the summer months, it seems Tauranga residents have been continuing to be safe in the sun.

Communications adviser for the Bay of Plenty District Health Board, James Fuller, said there had been "no real change from previous years" of patients with severe sunburn or heat stroke.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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