Really, this is summer?

Capital wet and cold, with autumn nearly here

MATT STEWART
Last updated 05:00 11/02/2014
windy weather
KENT BLECHYNDEN/FAIRFAX NZ
NICE WEATHER: Pedestrians battle their way down Featherston St last month.

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Wellington Weather

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Summer's lease is running out as the capital emerges from yet another spell of unseasonably damp, cold and blustery weather.

This summer is tracking to be the third coldest in a decade after a brace of storms and nearly double average rainfall for January.

On January 3 a deluge grounded flights, caused power outages, downed trees and blocked roads. It seemed to set the tone for a cold, wet month.

Strong southerlies pounded Wellington during the sevens weekend and continued yesterday.

Zealandia spokeswoman Kimberley Collins said the sanctuary experienced a 60 per cent drop in visitors numbers, which was standard for a wet weekend.

Wellington Zoo spokeswoman Charlotte Whitelaw said between 1000 and 2000 visitors could be expected on a sunny weekend but that number dropped to the hundreds when it was wet.

But however miserable the past few weeks may have felt, they don't come close to the worst on record.

The 1970s dealt Wellingtonians a couple of shockers, with 1971-72 having about a third fewer sunshine hours than usual, and 1976- 77 drowning under more than 2 times the average summer rainfall.

This summer's figures will be nothing like that bad because, despite a cool, damp January, December was mostly warm and dry.

Climate scientist Brett Mullan, of the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research, said December and January had "virtually cancelled each other out, which is unusual".

And with less than three weeks to go before summer officially ends on February 28, there is hope on the horizon, MetService forecaster John Law says.

"The troublesome area of low pressure which brought some wet weather to eastern areas of the North Island and Wellington during the weekend looks like it will finally pull away to leave some brighter weather today."

Conditions should be calm by the end of the week, which should suit romantics and cricket fans alike - a settled spell should arrive in time for the second test against India, which starts at the Basin Reserve on Valentines Day.

"But it'd pay to stay up to date with the latest forecasts before embarking on that romantic picnic," Mr Law said.

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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