Timaru rides warm tide of record highs

Timaru has just had its second warmest July on record with an average temperature of 7.6 degrees Celsius, 1.9C above average.

Niwa forecaster Chris Brandolino said it was "certainly a warm July for the city" and the second highest since records started in 1885.

"The warmest July on record was in 1988 when Timaru recorded an average temperature of 7.7C."

The strong north-westerly helped push yesterday's temperature in Timaru to 20.8C (recorded between 1pm and 2pm).

MetService meteorologist John Law said yesterday's temperature followed Thursday's high of 21.9C recorded at the airport at 3pm.

He said the balmy temperatures were caused by air moving over the north-west arches of the Southern Alps. The warm weather has been both a blessing and a curse for local ski fields, with high winds causing closures.

Ohau skifield general manager Mike Neilson said while they were "in the midst of a massive north-west cycle", which had closed the skifield, it had brought 20cm of new snow with it.

"The wind may have closed us down for three days, but it brings the snow so it's all good."

Tekapo's Roundhill Ski Area manager Simon Murrell said they too had been closed the past few days. "Warm and windy is never good but with snow forecast it should be better next week."

Mt Dobson Skifield was also closed yesterday due to high winds but a spokesperson said they had their fingers crossed for Sunday. "It's been quite wild up here but the main runs are still intact so we are now just waiting for the weather to come right."

If snow arrives and the wind drops, all three ski fields are expected to be open tomorrow.

The Timaru Herald