East Coast temperatures soar well into the 30s
The North Island's East Coast has ticked up a scorcher of a day, with Napier, Hastings and Gisborne all recording their hottest November days.
MetService said Napier hit 33.3 degrees Celsius, the hottest day since records began in 1868. Hastings got to at least 32C, while Gisborne was 32.7C, sneaking past the previous November record of 32.4C. Wairoa got to 33C.
At the same time the heatwave was hitting the eastern towns and cities, Auckland was on 19C and Wellington was on 17C - almost half Napier's peak. Christchurch was at 22C, while Dunedin, which reached 32C in some parts of the city on Tuesday, was at a chilly 12C.
As the temperatures climbed, the NZ Transport Agency urged drivers on Hawke's Bay roads to take extra care, warning patches of melted tar and loose chip could be expected on parts of State Highway 5, between Napier and Taupo, and SH2 between Napier and Wairoa.
MetService meteorologist Claire Flynn said the average maximum November temperature for Napier was 20.8C.
Wednesday's 33C was the highest on record for the Hawke's Bay town since records began way back in 1868.
The previous highest was 31.8C, recorded at Nelson Park in 1964, although 25 years of data was missing from 1880 to 1905.
Neighbouring Hastings also re-wrote the record books on Wednesday.
The highest November temperature on record there had been 31.7C, reached last year. Records for the town went back to 1981.
The average maximum November temperature for Hastings was 21C.
The weather station at Nelson Park, #Napier, has broken a record for November - reached 33C this last hour. Records began 1868. ^CF— MetService (@MetService) November 23, 2016
Wairoa's 32.9C was the hottest November day on record, though that only dated back to 2012.
Its previous highest was also recorded last year, when it reached 29C, easily eclipsing its November average of 21.7C.
Flynn said the warm temperatures were the result of clear skies and long days, which meant there was plenty of time for the land to heat up.
"But the key ingredient is the west/northwest winds these areas have been experiencing. Air arriving in Napier/Hastings/Wairoa has moved over the ranges, and dries out and heats up as it does so.
"Tomorrow [Thursday] is looking much cooler in these areas, though still warm, with temperatures in the early to mid-20s.
"This is because they are expected to get sea breezes tomorrow, instead of northwesterlies."
Rather less spectacular weather is forecast for Wellington, where a high of 17C is expected on Thursday and Friday, with rain also predicted for Friday.
Showers and strong winds, with temperatures not exceeding 17C, are forecast for the weekend.