Tracksiders throw their own shade

Cup goers charmed with good weather

OLIVIA WANNAN
Last updated 11:35 26/01/2013
Hat
MAARTEN HOLL/Fairfax NZ

BEVY OF BONNETS: Wellington Cup hat shoppers Sarah Buttar, left, Lauren McAndrew and Ebony Davison are all set to stun at the races.

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Hats and fascinators were snapped up around the city yesterday as people prepared for today's forecast cracker of a race day.

Bijoux Moda owner Claire Ferguson said the usual pre- Wellington Cup Day buying spree would even continue well into today.

"They come with their dresses on, man in tow, then jump in the car and head to the races," she said.

First-time racegoers Sarah Buttar, Lauren McAndrew and Ebony Davison were out searching for the perfect headgear - and of course, sunscreen - after checking the weather forecast. "It's going to be beautiful," Ms Davison said.

Fine, sunny weather and temperatures of 23 degrees Celsius were forecast today. Even better, the sun was predicted to continue for the next 10 days.

It's particularly great news for Wellington sevens fans, with sunshine expected for next weekend's event, and the long-range forecast showing highs of 24C for both Friday and Saturday.

MetService meteorologist Dan Corbett said a "big, fat" high had moved over the country and would park itself over New Zealand for the next week, bringing mainly fine weather to most areas.

"Instead of weather systems moving along . . . this high is going to drop its anchor and sit in place."

As the high lingered over the country, the mercury would rise, hitting 25C in the capital on Tuesday and the late 20s in the Wairarapa and further north.

Wellington would also experience light, warm winds, Mr Corbett said.

"This is one of the nicest settled spells we would have seen for this summer."

Niwa climate scientist Andrew Tait said while it was common to see high pressure systems that "parked" for several days, it was rare for one to stay for a week, as this one was predicted to.

"It's something that probably only happens once or twice a year, if that."

With La Nina raining out most of the North Island last summer, while drought conditions hit the south of the country, this year's summer had been a reversal.

Most of the South Island had seen above average rainfall, while the upper North Island had basked in exceptionally dry, warm weather, Mr Tait said.

Holidaymakers might be revelling in the sunny conditions, but the low soil moisture content not only brought a higher fire risk, but was causing problems for many North Island farmers, he said.

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