Forecast good news for sun worshipppers

MATT STEWART
WEATHER, SCIENCE AND ENVIRONMENT REPORTER
Last updated 07:26 01/11/2012
Days Bay
CRAIG SIMCOX/FairfaxNZ

WELCOME WARMTH: Armani Pihama, 4, soaks up the sunshine at Days Bay, Wellington, yesterday with her uncle and aunty, Geryn Smith and Grace Rangiwh.

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Wellington temperatures hit 20 degrees Celsius on Tuesday, for the first time since April, signalling the start of what is shaping to be a dry summer for the region.

''Fingers crossed, it's not a bad-looking summer,'' MetService meteorologist Dan Corbett said.

The news will be  welcome after last year's wet, cool summer, which was the cloudiest on record.

Sunny highs and occasional rainy spells are expected for the early part of the season in the lower North Island.

A weak or ''borderline neutral'' El Nino weather pattern would continue through to January, meaning a ''mixed bag'', erring on the side of sunshine.

The lack of a genuine El Nino meant conditions would be swayed by local weather and sea temperatures, rather than being dictated by the tropical Pacific Ocean.

''There'll be a bit of everything thrown in - fine settled days mixed in with unsettled spells as troughs move through the region,'' Mr Corbett said.

Niwa's latest three-month seasonal outlook is for a normal to dry early summer for the North Island, Nelson and Marlborough.

Niwa climate scientist Georgina Griffiths said that with near-average temperatures forecast, the lower North Island was looking at a ''pretty bog-standard summer.''

The forecast could worry drought-wary east coast farmers but should keep sunseekers heading to holiday hotspots such as Riversdale, Mahia and Waimarama happy.

Ms Griffiths said parching southwesterly winds would affect the already dry Hawke's Bay, Gisborne and Wairarapa regions, which could be in for a ''classic east coast summer'' with temperatures likely to crack 30C closer to Christmas.

November to January temperatures are likely to be average or above average in the north and east of the North Island, and near average in other regions,  while sea surface temperatures are expected to remain near normal around the country.

Contact Matt Stewart
Weather, science and environment reporter
Email: matt.stewart@dompost.co.nz
Twitter: @smatape

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- The Dominion Post

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