Feel like winter's only just arrived?

You wouldn't be wrong – and, beyond those big dark storm clouds that have been looming overhead, much of the reason for the cool change lies way out in the central Pacific Ocean.

Niwa meteorologist Ben Noll said winter 2019 began on a relatively tranquil note, with rainfall levels low enough to worry dam operators in Auckland and farmers in the South Island.

"As we've moved into July, we've seen a gradual increase in the amount of westerly winds, and these have dragged in moisture from the Tasman Sea toward New Zealand."

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