Spring abnormally sunny for much of NZ

02:19, Dec 04 2012

Spring was unusually sunny for much of the country between Waikato and South Canterbury, with records broken in Gisborne, New Plymouth and Paraparaumu.

A predominantly southwest flow during the three months meant most of the country also had a somewhat cool spring, with dry conditions across many North Island regions, as well as Marlborough and the Kaikoura Coast, Niwa said in its seasonal climate summary.

Many places in the central and southern North Island, as well as the northern South Island, had record or near-record sunshine.

Among the record setters, Gisborne's spring sunshine hours were 20 per cent higher than normal with 741. New Plymouth also notched up 20 per cent more sunshine hours with 673 hours, while Paraparaumu had 25 per cent more than normal, with 665 hours.

Places with second-highest readings were Te Kuiti 564 hours (up 29 per cent,) Taumarunui 541 hours (up 27 per cent), Hokitika 596 hours (up 21 per cent), Nelson 758 hours (up 17 per cent), and Cheviot 639 hours (up 23 per cent).

Wellington had its lowest spring rainfall total on record with 113 millimetres, which was just 46 per cent of average. Whanganui also had a record spring low, with two-thirds the usual amount at 161mm. Te Puke had its second-lowest spring rainfall total with 217mm, 59 per cent of average.

Spring rainfall totals ranged between 50 per cent and 60 per cent of normal in southern Hawke's Bay, Wairarapa, Wellington, between Whanganui and the Kapiti Coast, as well as in the Bay of Plenty and Blenheim, with record or near record low spring rainfalls experienced in these areas

Between 60 and 80 per cent of normal spring rainfall fell across much of the rest of the North Island, although it was closer to normal in Northland, Taranaki, Waikato to the Central Plateau, and Gisborne. Nelson, Marlborough, the Kaikoura Coast and North Canterbury also had 60 to 80 per cent of usual.

In much of the southern half of the South Island, it was wetter than usual with 20 per cent more rainfall.