Hold on, winter won't all be like this

MIXED BAG: Conditions could swing from cold to warm, says the weatherman.
MIXED BAG: Conditions could swing from cold to warm, says the weatherman.

Extreme cold has characterised the first two weeks of winter, but those biting air temperatures and strong winds are not expected to stick around all season.

The country is in a "neutral" weather pattern – neither an El Nino nor a La Nina – meaning conditions could swing from cold weather systems to warmer spells, MetService meteorologist Daniel Corbett said.

"The first couple of days of June, which brought snow to Canterbury, saw a low coming out of the Tasman Sea meeting cold air.

"In the last week we have had cold sou'westerlies that have been more or less stuck over the country, bringing colder air."

Tuesday was the coldest day so far, with temperatures barely making it above 8 degrees Celsius, while strong southerly gusts brought the windchill factor much lower.

The warmest day of the month so far was Wednesday, June 6, with a high of 15.4C. It was also the windiest day with northwesterly gusts of more than 100kmh.

Snow fell on the Rimutaka Hill Rd yesterday, and at 4pm the MetService website said while the actual temperature for Wellington was 7.5C, the "feels like" temperature was just 3C, requiring four clothing layers including one windproof layer.

The "feels like" temperature was the apparent feeling on the skin and took into account the wind's speed and direction, Mr Corbett said. "With wind chill, it feels a lot colder."

The cold temperatures meant firewood sellers were particularly busy.

Capital City Products manager Wayne Tierney said they had seen about a 30 per cent increase in customers in the last few weeks.

"We've had an early start to winter."

The chilly weather was not expected to be the pattern for the whole winter, Mr Corbett said.

"We'll have colder weather with breaks of warmer spells. Next week we're going back into a northerly wind system so it will slowly get better and milder.

"There's a mix of different things in the next couple of weeks."

Contact Sophie Speer
Culture and Capital Day reporter
Email: sophie.speer@dompost.co.nz
Twitter: @sophie_speer

The Dominion Post