Cantabrians can be forgiven for thinking they're already in the middle of summer after the region recorded record-breaking temperatures yesterday - with the heat expected to continue today.

Temperatures reached almost 30C in many parts of Christchurch - the hottest it's been in the city in early October since 1981.

Strong northwesterlies and low cloud trapped the heat down to low levels in parts of the South Island overnight, ensuring a warm start for the day.

The East Coast of the North Island will also reap the benefits of the warm winds with temperatures expected in the high 20s in Gisborne and Hawkes Bay.


But MetService meteorologist Emma Blades says the most likely areas to break October records are Kaikoura and Dunedin.

Kaikoura's highest temperature for October was 27.8 degrees in 1991, but is forecast to reach 30 degrees, while Dunedin's highest is 25.5 degrees from 1992.

However, Lyttleton was 25.8 degrees at 7am.

Most people on the East Coast of the country will have woken to extraordinarily warm temperatures this morning, with Ashburton, Christchurch and Gore on 20 degrees at 7am.

In another unusual phenomenon, Invercargill is currently sitting warmer than Kaitaia.

"That's pretty unusual. Invercargill is currently 18 degrees, but it got up to 20 degrees overnight. Kaitaia is sitting on 9 degrees."

Gisborne, Napier and Hastings can all expect temperatures in the high 20s.

Heat map. Photo / Weather Watch
Heat map. Photo / Weather Watch

"We'll see what happens, but we will definitely be keeping an eye on it once the sun goes up and it really starts to form because it's quite clear skies for Gisborne and Hawke's Bay. At the moment there is some cloud around the eastern areas of the South Island which has trapped that heat in overnight and once the sun come up in Gisborne and Hawke's Bay they're going to start to rocket."


Auckland can expect an 18 degree high today after sitting at 13 degrees at 7am, while Hamilton will reach about 20 degrees.

The mean maximum temperature for Christchurch in October is 17 degrees, "so you're talking significantly higher than that, could be 10 degrees warmer."

Strong winds should ease today, although there is currently a watch for severe gales in Wellington at the moment.

"In the South Island we've watched all wind warnings for Southland, Clutha, Otago and Canterbury although we are expecting that to ease as we go throughout today so it's those strong winds that is making it warm.

The Saddle Hill fire was the most serious of several fires that broke out across the region yesterday. Near Dunback, a fire burned 100ha to 150ha of vegetation, destroying a hay barn and threatening four homes. Source: ODT

"We also have a watch for strong winds in Marlborough, Wellington, Wairarapa and Hawke's Bay. The rest of the country is not looking too bad, just a bit of cloud around. There will be a bit of rain on the West Coast of the South Island and Southland."

Ms Blades says although it will remain warm until late this afternoon, the winds will switch to southerly and "we'll be back to normal".

"For this time of year it's so warm, I can't believe it," she says.

As for yesterday's highest temperatures, Ashburton took the honours with 27.9 degrees at 5pm, followed closely by Timaru and Christchurch who both basked in 27.7.