Weather Watch

Weather analyst Philip Duncan checks the forecast and the story behind the temperatures

Weather Watch: Messy summer has potential but needs to try harder

By Philip Duncan

No matter how you slice it summer has arrived - though it's been far from perfect for some parts of the country.

Here's my review of what we've had so far.

In November I said a spring-like weather pattern was likely to continue into December, with long dry spells developing. Early January looks as though it will see a continuation of this spring weather but then the true summer weather, which means more settled high spells, should set in.

What do I mean by a spring pattern? More windy westerlies. This brings more cloud to the west and more rain to the West Coast. The flip side? Westerlies bring sunny, very hot, weather to the east.

This includes Canterbury, Hawke's Bay, Gisborne, Nelson, Bay of Plenty, Coromandel Peninsula and the Bay of Islands, to name a few holiday spots.

Rain has fallen in most regions, bringing delight to farmers, gardeners and those who spend summer relying on tank or rain water.

My first 10 years of life I drank tank water. The next 10 years it was well water. To this very day, I treat water like a precious resource even though in Auckland water restrictions are rare. I guess you can take the boy out of the country ...

Summer this far has delivered us near-drought conditions for some parts of Hawke's Bay, thunderstorms for several regions and ex-cyclone Evan for the north. Evan also brought tropical air from Fiji so Christmas Eve and Christmas Day especially were roasting hot and humid for many.

So to sum up summer so far (generically speaking of course): long dry spells, some rain in there, and plenty of heat. I'd give it a B+ so far. The negative points go to the ongoing lack of rain in Hawke's Bay and the overdoing it of rain, cloud and/or wind for numerous other centres.

Two more weeks of unsettled weather, then the highs may finally start to settle over us, according to the long-range models.

But keep an eye on those tropics. It seems especially active north of New Zealand at the moment, which is why just a week after Evan we're now watching Freda lurk north of the country as a powerful tropical storm. This week the models have been conflicted - one picking Freda to hit Northland, the other Queensland. At the time of writing this column, those two models had both swapped final destinations.

But you don't have to worry about that - that's for forecasters to monitor.

- Herald on Sunday

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