Jamie Morton is the NZ Herald's science reporter.

Record temperature a surprise after gloomy forecast

A record November temperature combined with blue skies set the scene for a weekend of packed beaches and a big turnout for the cross-harbour Chelsea Swim in Auckland.

According to MetService, Auckland reached 26C on Saturday. The previous accessible record for November was 25.5C in 1974.

Yesterday, temperatures reached 24.7C. The balmy temperatures over much of New Zealand came from a blocking high which kept at bay a low pressure system forecasters had predicted would bring wet weekend weather.

Lifeguards around the North Island reported crowded beaches, but said calm seas meant few problems.

Orewa Surf Club duty manager Miriam Barlow said Orewa Beach was so popular on Saturday that people had to park kilometres away and walk to get to the beach.

"It's been pretty busy," said Ms Barlow. "Lots of icecreams being sold, lots of tourists."

For those who took part in yesterday morning's cross-harbour Chelsea Swim, the fine weather provided ideal conditions which led to some of the fastest times in the event's 100-year history.

About 300 people took part in the 2.4km swim which started at Masefield Beach and ended at the Chelsea Sugar Refinery.

MetService meteorologist Tristan Oakley said predictions of poor weather had come after forecasters over-estimated the strength of the low and under-estimated the high above the North Island.

The hottest spots in the country yesterday were Blenheim at 29.1C and Masterton, which saw a high of 28.6C.

Auckland's weather

Today: Mostly fine, brief morning cloud. A high of 25.
Tomorrow: A few morning showers which will turn to rain in the afternoon. A high of 24.
Wednesday: Rain, possibly heavy. A high of 23, which will create muggy conditions

- NZ Herald

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