Average summer ahead for Canterbury

PAUL GORMAN
Last updated 10:24 29/10/2012
summer landscape
JOSEPH JOHNSON/The Press

FAMILY FUN: Jennie Tinker, Maisie Tinker and Dave Tinker play in the Christchurch Botanic Gardens today.

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Cantabrians should prepare for an average summer, with a bit of everything thrown into the weather mix.

That means periods of chilly easterlies, hot northwesterlies and cold southwesterlies, with sunny weeks but also rainy spells.

Weather agencies on both side of the Tasman agree that the chance of an El Nino, which brings dry summer weather and often gusty west to southwest winds to Canterbury, now looks slim.

A summer El Nino had been predicted but has since fizzled.

MetService and the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (Niwa) here, and the Bureau of Meteorology in Australia, now say the overriding weather pattern for the summer will be a neutral one - neither El Nino nor La Nina.

La Nina, which drove New Zealand's weather last summer, brings more subtropical systems packing northeasterly winds and wet weather to northern and eastern parts of both islands.

Niwa principal climate scientist Brett Mullan said the El Nino had never had a chance to get going because the ocean and the atmosphere in the tropics had ''failed to couple''.

''It means El Nino will not be a big driver of the weather, so it's more likely to be a neutral season.''

Scientists would meet tomorrow to decide on their official prediction for summer, he said.

Niwa expects there to be about 10 tropical cyclones in the southwest Pacific this summer. At least one is likely to be of category 3 or higher, with sustained mean winds for at least 10 minutes of 120 to 160kmh.

New Zealand can expect at least one ex-tropical cyclone to pass close by, within about 500 kilometres.

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- The Press

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