Whanganui didn't scorch as Kawerau did during the first week of November - but our average temperature was 1degC higher than usual, MetService meteorologist Andrew James says.
In Whanganui the coldest temperature was 8degC, overnight on November 19.
The warmest day in town was November 8 when the temperature reached 26degC, and Ohakune and Waiouru both reached near-record highs that week. Temperatures meanwhile stretched into the 30s in eastern and central parts of the North Island with Kawerau recording a high of 34.6degC.
It was the hot dry air from central Australia blown across New Zealand by northwest winds that made it so warm. With it came dust and smoke from bush fires, and skies have often been hazy.
New Zealand has just had its hottest-ever November, Niwa says, with temperatures 1.3degC above average nationwide and 2019 is on track to be the fourth warmest year on record - unless December turns on a cold snap.
The unsettled, westerly spring weather has been caused by a very active Southern Ocean and Tasman Sea. They have pushed a belt of westerly winds further north than usual, James said.
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Although there were some very strong and memorable gusts of wind, wind speed for the month was slightly lower than average.
The westerly winds brought Whanganui rain, but the 50mm that fell during the month was only half the November average. Most of it fell in just two days, November 10 and 17.
"There were many, many dry days in the month," James said.
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After more dollops of rain in early December, soil moisture is now average.
Sea surface temperatures are warming from their winter low and now range from 15 to 20degC, warmer inshore.
Continued westerly winds are predicted for December, James said. On December 10 they shifted to a southerly direction, clearing away Australia's smoke and dust and noticeably cooling the air.
Niwa predicts average to above average temperatures for us during December, and a change to northeast winds later in summer.
Although it's too early to forecast with any degree of accuracy weather site accuweather.com says Christmas Day in Whanganui should be mainly sunny with some cloud, and a high of 19degC and a low of 14degC.