Sun beats down as Chch in record chase

PAUL GORMAN
Last updated 05:00 29/01/2013

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A spectacularly sunny day today could keep Christchurch on track for one of its brightest opening months on record.

It is touch and go though, thanks to a bank of sea cloud in Pegasus Bay that continues to drift over the coast.

By last night the city had recorded close to 250 hours of bright sunshine so far this month, already well above average for January.

The National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research says the sunniest January in the city since records began in 1949 was in 1957, when 288.1 hours were recorded.

January 1988 was close, with 286.8 hours, followed by January 1992 with 285.3 hours and January 2009 with 280.6 hours.

To beat the January 1957 record, Christchurch needs about 13 hours of sunshine today , tomorrow and again on Thursday.

That will be a pretty tough ask, given the cloud offshore and no change expected in the overall weather situation that would see that cloud dissolve.

Surprisingly, despite the warm and sunny weather, January has not been dry in Christchurch, with about average rainfall so far of 37 millimetres.

MetService spokesman Dan Corbett said the large, blocking high-pressure system across the country, with a centre off the Canterbury coast, would bring a fantastic week of weather.

The high looked unlikely to move, or break down significantly, until at least the weekend.

Low-pressure areas, like the storm affecting Queensland, were being kept at bay by the block.

While the weather would generally be sunny and warm across Canterbury, coastal areas, including Christchurch, could expect low cloud most days from about dusk to 9am or 10am the following day, he said.

"That cloud's all you've got to contend with over the next few days, just lapping in and out; a bit like pulling the sheets up over the bed," he said.

"As the high matures and gets a bit dirty, there could be a bit of mist and fog in the mornings, but otherwise it will be spectacular."

Afternoon temperatures were expected to peak in the low to mid-20s near the coast and higher inland. Rain would not come back into the picture until early next week, Corbett said.

SUNNY SPOTS

Average January sunshine hours:

Nelson – 266 hours.

Blenheim – 262 hours.

Christchurch – 230 hours.

Dunedin – 178 hours.

Perth – 322 hours.

Melbourne – 250 hours.

Brisbane – 240 hours.

Sydney – 220 hours.

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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