Coldest October in 64 years

23:57, Nov 02 2009

It will come as little surprise to most New Zealanders that the country shivered through the coldest October in 64 years.

In its climate summary for the month, the Niwa said the average temperature nationwide was 10.6degC _ 1.4degC below average.

Such a cold October has occurred only four times in the past 100 years, the last time in 1945.

It was only fractionally warmer than August, which recorded a warmer-than-normal average temperature of 10.4degC.

Niwa said October was shaped by a series of southerly fronts, all-time record low temperatures in many areas, and unseasonable late snowfalls.

The heaviest October snowfall since 1967 occurred in Hawke's Bay and the central  North Island on Octobe 4 and 5 stranding hundreds of travellers, closing roads, and resulting in heavy lambing losses.

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Not only was it cold, but it was also wet.

Rainfall was near-record (more than 200 percent of normal) in parts of Hawke's Bay, Gisborne and the Tararua district, and well above normal in the remaining east  of the North Island, as well as Wellington, Marlborough and parts of Canterbury.

It was, however, dry and sunnier than usual on the West Coast of the South Island.

For those pinning their hopes on a quick thaw, Niwa is predicting temperatures over the next three months to be near average for the North Island and top of the South Island, but below average elsewhere.

- NZPA