Summer's belated

HELEN HARVEY
Last updated 05:00 29/01/2014

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Summer, what summer?

The sunshine season seems to have given Taranaki a miss so far this year.

The good news is that this week it is going to be fine, with sun forecast for three days.

And the experts are picking a better spell through to autumn.

But the run of average weather is starting to make New Plymouth's new high sunshine reputation look decidedly dodgy.

The data, from a potentially malfunctioning new meter, is already saying New Plymouth has had 10 per cent more sunshine than normal this year, Niwa climate scientist Brett Mullan said, laughing.

"We're querying it."

Taranaki's weather wasn't too bad in December, with above average temperatures and below average rainfall, but since Christmas we haven't had more than two days in a row without rain.

It's caused by lower pressures in the Tasman Sea, he said.

Overall January was 1 degree Celsius colder and there was 50 per cent more rainfall than average.

MetService forecaster Dan Corbett said the weather this summer has been unsettled because all the anticyclones have stayed, through Christmas and New Year, to the west of the country.

"So that has put us in a cooler south-west flow. And it's only in the last week or so that the anticyclones, or highs, that bring the fine weather have started to build across the country and bringing more than the 15 minutes of fine weather that we've been seeing.

"But this week things are looking up. It will be far more summer-like in the days to come than we've being seeing in the last month or so."

There is still a month of summer to go and February was quite good last year, he said.

And while the weather is not nearly as nice as last year, there is also no drought.

Frank Davis has been checking the rainfall in his New Plymouth backyard since 1994.

He measured 1884mm of rain in his backyard during 2013.

But rain in Taranaki and even within New Plymouth is quite often localised - raining in one part of town and not in another, Mr Davis said.

Last year October was the worst month with 158mm.

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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