An eye on the weather since childhood

20:48, May 04 2014
chris brandolino
SOUTHERN SLANT: National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (Niwa)’s new forecaster Chris Brandolino is adjusting from North American norms.

The new face of New Zealand weather at the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (Niwa) used to stare out of classroom windows as a kid.

But instead of day-dreaming as his teacher first thought, a 5-year-old Chris Brandolino was making amateur weather predictions.

Brandolino, who worked as a broadcast meteorologist on television in New York for 16 years, has joined Niwa as its forecaster.

The now Auckland-based 39-year-old has also worked at the Australian Bureau of Meteorology, where he got used to the notion of cold air coming from the south - the opposite of his native North North America.

Because New Zealand was an island, "the big weather extremes that you get in North America are not as common", Brandolino said.

But one thing remained the same - people's "universal" interest in the weather. Also, their glee when weather proved different to the forecasts.

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Niwa's seasonal climate outlook for the next three months says temperatures may be above normal for most of New Zealand this winter.

From May to July, average temperatures are most likely for the west of the South Island, and above-average temperatures are expected for the east of the North Island. For the rest of the country, there is a 40 to 45 per cent chance of average or above average temperatures.

In Canterbury, temperatures colder and drier than normal were "least likely", said Brandolino.

"Maybe you will use your electric blanket a bit less or your heating bill may be a bit lower this winter," he said. "There's a pretty good chance temperatures will be normal or above normal."

Niwa said 11 of the 14 models it monitored were predicting El Nino conditions in August, September and October.

In New Zealand, that could lead to drier conditions on the east coast and more rain in the west.

Fairfax Media