Hot, sunny January a record-breaker

Last updated 13:11 04/02/2013

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It is official - New Zealand baked in January.

People marveled at the blue skies and chatted about how it was the hottest summer in living memory, and now the National Climate Centre has confirmed it.

According to the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research's (Niwa) monthly climate summary, January was a record-breaker.

"The second half of January was characterised by an intense 'blocking high' which became slow moving over, and to the east of, the country," it said.

"This produced extremely sunny and dry conditions for New Zealand over the second half of the month."

For Warkworth, Whitianga, and Te Puke, it was the driest month on record, and for Masterton, it was the driest January ever.

Auckland, Hamilton, and Tauranga also had near record lows for monthly rainfall.

The South Island didn't miss out on the sunshine, racking up record or near-record high sunshine totals for the month.

"It was the sunniest January on record for Christchurch, Cheviot, Ashburton, Lake Tekapo, as well as Waipawa (Hawke's Bay)," said Niwa.

"It was also the sunniest month on record for all of these sites, except Christchurch, which logged its second-sunniest month after December 1988."

Sunshine totals were above normal for the rest of the country, aside from Northland, Auckland, Wellington, and Blenheim, which had normal sunshine hours.

OTHER HIGHLIGHTS

The highest temperature was 35.1 degrees Celsius, recorded at Clyde on January 5, and at Gisborne on January 9 and 10.   

The lowest temperature was -0.5 degrees C, observed at Hanmer Forest on January 18.

The highest one-day rainfall was 346mm, recorded at Mount Cook on January 9.

Of the six main centres in January 2013, Auckland was the warmest, Dunedin the coolest, Wellington the wettest, and Tauranga the driest and sunniest.

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