Marlborough continues to feel the heat

PENNY WARDLE
Last updated 08:07 04/02/2013

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Marlborough certainly felt the heat in January and temperatures stayed high through the weekend.

The Marlborough District Council website recorded the hottest place in Marlborough this year as the Wye meteorological station above Wairau Valley township, where the mercury soared above 30 degrees Celsius for four days from January 29 until February 1, peaking at more than 34C on Thursday last week.

Sam Rentoul of Wye Hills, near the Wye station, said he was trying to get all stockwork done in the cool of the morning, saving mechanical jobs such as fixing harvesting machinery for the hottest hours of the day.

Yesterday he recorded a temperature of 33.9C.

If the hot conditions continued he expected to start harvesting unirrigated barley and peas by the end of this month. At Molesworth Station on Awatere Valley Rd and Ngaruru in the Wairau Valley the thermometer rose above 30C for the three days from January 30 to February 1.

The council website shows the maximum daily temperature at Blenheim Bowling Club fell below 20C on only two days in January. The average daily maximum averaged about 23.3C.

During the weekend Blenheim temperatures peaked at near 28C.

Council hydrologist Val Wadsworth said sea breezes kept coastal areas such as Blenheim a few degrees cooler than inland areas such as the Molesworth Station and the Wairau Valley.

Even Woodbourne could be a couple of degrees warmer than Blenheim.

The Metservice website records that Blenheim was the second hottest airport in New Zealand on Friday at 31.5C, behind Masterton at 32.2C.

On Saturday it was the fifth hottest at 27.8C, with Masterton still in the lead at 29.6C.

However, one month into the weather war with Nelson, Marlborough could be lagging behind on sunshine hours.

John Mathieson of Nelson Weather Service said Blenheim recorded 281.1 hours of sunshine in January and Nelson 306 hours. This was 5 per cent above the usual average for Blenheim of 269 hours, he said.

In December, 256.4 sunshine hours were recorded on the Marlborough Research Centre website, 104 per cent of the long-term average for the month of 246 hours.

"It's been a season of two halves," Mr Mathieson said.

"The first half was windy with a welcome overflow of rain to Blenheim in the middle of the month, after which anti-cyclones dominated, leading to dry conditions."

Rain was forecast for Marlborough today and tomorrow.

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- The Marlborough Express

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