Weather Watch

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

Weather Watch: Summer weather is the porridge that is 'just right'

By Philip Duncan

This, the weather we've been having for the past five weeks, is what a "fairly average summer" in New Zealand looks like. I highlight this because in spring I said the weather pattern this summer looked "average" - and many interpreted that as "poor".

Of course some areas have had extreme weather - we've seen flooding, snow and houses burn to the ground - but for the most part severe summer weather has been isolated.

I told a Herald reporter this week that many of us shape our memories of summer when we are children, teens and young adults. Memories, quite often, of long, hot, dry summers, perhaps locked in at a young age during an impressive drought that you now can no longer recall, but you can remember the dry grass and endless blue sky days.

Times haven't changed, but as we get older those "long" summers aren't as long as we remembered.

Most adults I know remember summer lasting an eternity as a kid ... but that's a child's brain working, not the weather that's changed.

So when we have an "average" season it's a word we should embrace. It usually means a mix of weather. Plenty of sun, plenty of heat - but some rain too, to keep things alive.

New Zealand lies too far north of Antarctica for brutal winters. Being surrounded by water also helps limit our heat and stop our nights from getting too cold.

My family from Toronto think a winter in Auckland is heaven - you can wear T-shirts, sit outside for lunch and see flowers in bloom. They are locked indoors for up to six months due to snow, ice and the cold.

We are also too far south of the tropics to have extreme heat. It's not like the fiery extremes of Australia (45C-plus). Although we have had the odd heat wave over 40C, it is rare and often isolated.

We are the porridge that's "juuust right". However the wind has been annoying. I felt for the campers the other night but I did my time camping, 30 years in fact, so my sympathy is limited insofar as yep, I know that feeling of the tent flapping all night and keeping me awake. But hey - be thankful that's the only thing you're complaining about weatherwise.

I think most New Zealanders would agree, Aussie can keep their 45C heatwave - our "average" summer isn't so average after all ... it's pretty damn good.

- Herald on Sunday

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