Last day for a summer romance

LAUREN HAYES
Last updated 05:00 28/02/2014

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Today is the last day to squeeze in a summer romance or road trip as autumn officially arrives tomorrow.

The summer has been a mixed bag for the region, with a few scorching days accompanied by rain, chilly temperatures and even storms.

The National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (Niwa) will release its summer summary report next week, but data released by the institute this month shows Southland was cooler and wetter than normal in January.

Average temperatures across the region were between 1 degree Celsius and 2C lower than normal, while Fiordland received one and a half times its average rainfall for the month.

Climate scientist Dr Jim Salinger said after a warm start early in the season, "the rot set in" and Southlanders had not experienced a summer.

The wet and chilly weather had also deterred holidaymakers from travelling around Southland.

Beach Road Holiday Park owner Gerry Oudhoff said despite summer starting with a "hiss and a roar", it had generally been a slower season for campers.

Holidaymakers found the weather untrustworthy, and those in tents were especially affected, Mr Oudhoff said. "We've had people set tents up and halfway through the night, they were abandoned.

"I don't think there's been as many people. I think between the weather and the global finances, it has impacted."

Te Anau Lakeview Holiday Park manager Roger Hyde said while he was pleased with camping numbers for the season, the weather had caused a dip around the Christmas and New Year period.

Tenters and Southlanders holidaying in Te Anau were most put off by the weather, Mr Hyde said.

However, Southland's rainy summer has come as a relief for some, after the region was plagued with drought last year.

Federated Farmers Southland provincial president Russell MacPherson said there would not be too many farmers grizzling about the summer.

Parts of northern Southland were starting to get a little dry, but it was normal for the area, he said.

Looking into autumn, most farmers would be hoping for a good mix of weather, Mr MacPherson said.

"A little bit of rain, a little bit of sunshine . . . everything in moderation, just like a good diet."

In the more immediate future, Southlanders should keep their waterproof jackets handy.

Metservice has forecast rain for eight of the next nine days in Invercargill, while rural Southlanders can expect possible thunderstorms today.

Queenstown and Central Otago have a slightly sunnier outlook, with Metservice predicting only intermittent rain for the next few weeks in the area.

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- The Southland Times

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