Warm winter may set record

Southland is on track to record its warmest winter in over 100 years, with figures expected to be released early next week.

Niwa will release its winter statistics on Tuesday which will show if this winter has been the warmest on record.

The warmest winter for Invercargill was recorded in 1929, with an average temperature of 7.23 degrees - an average of daytime and nighttime temperatures during the months of June, July and August.

45S Weather Services manager Andy Fraser said he was "quite confident" this winter would be the warmest recorded in Southland.

In June, July and so far in August this year, the temperatures in Southland have been above average. The July average temperature of 7.7 degrees was the warmest recorded, he said.

August was currently 1.8 degrees higher than previous years and would probably end up among the ten warmest Augusts on record, he said.

Instead of cold air coming from the Antarctic, air was coming from the sub-tropical areas in Australia, Mr Fraser said.

Similarly, MetService meteorologist Dan Corbett said MetService has data dating back to 1995 which showed the average temperature for August in Southland so far this year was about 1.5 degrees above average.

The warmer winter has provided mixed fortunes for businesses in Southland.

With less need to heat homes, Electricity company PowerNet, which manages Electricity Invercargill, The Power Company (Southland and west Otago) and OtagoNet (south and east Otago), has taken a hit.

Chief executive Jason Franklin said the warmer weather in Southland and Otago cut revenue between April and July by $1.25 million.

The loss was completely weather-driven, with two of the companies seeing energy consumption down by almost 5 per cent, Mr Franklin said.

However, southern farmers have welcomed the warmer weather.

Southland Federated Farmers president Russell MacPherson said conditions were ideal for grass growth, calving, lambing and milk production.

Mr MacPherson said he had never seen such good winter grass growth in 25 years of farming.

Some southern panelbeaters have noticed a drop in the number of cars coming through their workshops during the mild winter.

The Southland Times