Summer drizzles to a dull, muggy end

By Amelia Wade

Heavy rain, lightning and thunderstorms are predicted for the last two weeks of summer. Photo / Thinkstock
Heavy rain, lightning and thunderstorms are predicted for the last two weeks of summer. Photo / Thinkstock

Technically, two weeks are left of summer - but it won't feel like it with thunderstorms, lightning and heavy rain predicted.

Over the next few days, much of the country can expect showers, a risk of flash floods in some areas and muggy heat, forecasters say.

Weather Watch head analyst Philip Duncan said people should prepare for more of the dreary weather that plagued this summer.

"This has been a summer most of us will either forget due to its dullness, or one to remember because it ruined many of our holiday plans."

Last night a slow-moving area of low pressure, bringing downpours and thunderstorms, was making its way over the North Island.

MetService meteorologist Daniel Corbett said the bad weather was coming in pieces.

"It's not just one big front - it's very moist, humid air and different features that will bring in that risk for showers and heavy downpours."

After the weather system had made its way over the North Island, it would hover there until Friday.

"The next couple of days will be quite showery, even thundery, until Thursday ... I think by Friday the low will be breathing its last gasps. It will take a couple of days to blow itself out - think of it like the squeezing of a sponge, it takes a couple of squeezes to get the moisture out."

Aucklanders might have a nice weekend, depending on how the low played out, Mr Corbett said.

Meanwhile, Mr Duncan said Auckland might escape the showers altogether because the incoming rain band, and the angle of it, made it narrower than the city itself.

"That means if it moves just very slightly north or south it may deliver very little. The flip side is that if it slides lengthwise over the city it could bring a prolonged period of heavy rain overnight tonight, making it especially tricky for weather forecasters to accurately pinpoint."

The last two weeks of February looked to be unsettled with a mix of highs, lows and still plenty more overcast days.

Mr Duncan said that despite the rain, the next couple of weeks might contain some of the hottest days of the summer.

The main problem this summer was not a lack of highs, he said, but instead the lack of ones that sat over the country.

"The highs have been what we call 'dirty highs' - they bring in cloud and they linger for only a few days, meaning we get the cooler winds from the south at the beginning then the more humid northerlies at the end. After it's passed many aren't even aware it was actually a high that passed over."

The La Nina summer contributed to some of the cloud and easterlies the north of New Zealand had experienced in the past couple of months.

Is this our worst summer ever? Philip Duncan of Weather Watch answers your questions in a live chat today at 11.30am online.

FORECAST

Today: Showers for much of the North Island.
Tomorrow: Showers in most areas and cloudy around Gisborne and Hawkes Bay.
Friday: Mainly fine, but a few showers in Gisborne and Hawkes Bay and inland areas.
Saturday: Mostly fine in the north and east with cloud in western areas from Taranaki southwards.

- NZ Herald

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