Extreme June cold snap breaks records

23:15, Jul 03 2012
Snow rings the high tide mark at South Shore.
The city and hills bask in sunshine the day after the big snowfall.
The Port Hills and Brighton with the pier.
Drivers play in the snow on the northern beaches.
Cathedral Square.
	 red zone
RED-ZONE DRESSED IN WHITE: Christchurch's inner-city red zone lies under a blanket of snow yesterday. This aerial shot shows the area looking south along Manchester and Colombo streets to the Port Hills.
Aerial of Cashmere
Aerial of Rangiora
Stock walking through snow near Rangiora.
Hagley Park goal posts
MAKING TRACKS: Hagley Park goal posts from the air.

The extreme cold snap which hit much of the country in early June brought the lowest daytime maximum temperatures on record to parts of Canterbury, and the lowest June maximums to some other areas.

In its June climate summary, Niwa said the temperature at Christchurch airport reached only 0.4degC on June 6, as heavy snow fell throughout the day.

In Waipara West, 60km north of Christchurch, the temperature reached 2.3degC, and in Cheviot it got to 1.3degC. In all three places the temperatures were the lowest daily maximums on record.

Places which recorded their lowest June maximums on that day included Lincoln with 0.7degC - its second-lowest for any month, Arthurs Pass with -1.2degC, Blenheim with 5.6degC, and Greymouth with 5.2degC - also its second-lowest on record.

Later in the month, Lake Rotoiti had its lowest-recorded June maximum at 2.1degC and Milford Sound had its lowest June maximum of 2.5degC.

Arthurs Pass had its lowest daily minimum June temperature on record, with -11.2degC, Culverden had its lowest with -10.2degC, and Le Bons Bay on Banks Peninsula had its equal-lowest June minimum with a flat zero. Le Bons Bay also had its lowest June monthly-average minimum air temperature at 4.4degC.

The highest temperature during the month was 22degC at Wairoa and the lowest was -11.8degC at Darfield.

Overall, lower pressures than usual affected the area to the southeast of the country during the month, resulting in more southwest winds than normal, Niwa said.

The month was notable for several rapidly deepening intense weather systems. In particular, the rapidly deepening low over the Tasman Sea on June 5 and 6 produced the snow to low levels in Canterbury and heavy rain in Tasman and Buller.

Intense lows on June 18 and on June 25 and 26 resulted in severe winds across the South Island and heavy rainfall in some areas.

It was an unusually dry June in the north and east of the North Island, as well as in South Canterbury, while it was extremely wet over the northern half of the South Island.

The month as a whole was unusually cool in eastern and alpine areas of the South Island, and extremely sunny in the lower South Island.

Queenstown had a record number of sunshine hours for the month, nearly double its June average with 142, while Cromwell also had its highest June total with 140 hours - about 1-1/2 times normal.

Whangarei had its lowest June rainfall on record, with a fifth of normal at 25mm, while Whakatane and Rotorua also had their lowest recorded June rainfall totals - both with 36mm.

Greymouth had its second highest June rainfall total with 360mm, and its highest extreme one-day total for the month with 151mm on June 5.

The strongest wind gust in June was 161kmh at Taiaroa Head in Dunedin, while Mt Kaukau in Wellington had its fourth-equal strongest June wind gust at 133kmh.