Winterless north lives up to billing as NZ's warmest

By Imran Ali

Northland was the hottest place in the country last year, with three places - Whangarei, Kerikeri and Cape Reinga - recording the three highest average temperatures across the country for the whole of 2012.

The annual climate summary for 2012 released by Niwa revealed Whangarei's average temperature of 15.8C was much higher than New Zealand's 12.5C, despite an unusually warm December.

Kaitaia came second at 15.7C, followed by Cape Reinga and Whangaparaoa, both with 15.5C.

Niwa principal climate scientist Dr Andrew Tait said although Whangarei recorded the highest annual average temperature, none of the major centres in Northland had the highest sunshine hours.

"It was a tad cooler than normal but reasonably sunny as was the case with most parts of the country," he said. "Northland was probably the only [part of the] country that was affected by Cyclone Evan which brought rainfall a week prior to Christmas."

Northland had less sunshine than normal, with Kaitaia receiving the lion's share at 2118 hours followed by Dargaville at 1878 hours.

The region was affected by widespread flooding on March 19 due to a deep low stalling east of the Bay of Islands.

The hills above Kaeo received about twice the normal March rainfall - 283.5mm - in just 35 hours.

Overall, March rainfall was at least double normal for Northland, north Auckland, and for eastern parts of the North Island.

It was the driest June on record for Whangarei, Rotorua and Whakatane.

December was warmer than average throughout the country, due to more frequent northerly and northwest winds than usual.

Cape Reinga had the highest one-day extreme rainfall at 120mm on March 18 and the fourth-highest since records began in 1919

The highest minimum temperature throughout New Zealand was in Whangarei at 21.9C on February 23 which was equal second-highest since records began in 1967.

The highest July, October and December temperatures was recorded in Kaikohe - 19.1C, 22.5C and 28.1C respectively - since records began in 1973.

- Northern Advocate

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