Timaru spared a ferocious 40 - rain on the way, says expert

EMMA BAILEY
Last updated 08:46 31/01/2013
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OISIN DUKE/Fairfax NZ

LIFE'S A BEACH: On another hot day, the sea off Caroline Bay was again popular.

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Talk of Timaru melting in temperatures of about 40 degrees Celsius did not materialise yesterday.

While the MetService had predicted a high of 29C for Timaru yesterday, climate scientist Jim Salinger predicted parts of the South Island's east coast between Timaru and Marlborough could top 40C.

Timaru hovered around 24C, while Twizel enjoyed 31C, Lake Tekapo 26C and Geraldine 28.1C.

Today MetService predicts 31C for Timaru and 28C tomorrow.

MetService forecaster Dan Corbett predicted low cloud lurking around Timaru would prevent the mercury getting as high as 40C yesterday. He did not expect temperatures to get that high for the rest of the week either.

"For that to happen you have to have a very strong nor'wester and that is not really setting up. The high cloud will burn off and we do have the hint of a nor'wester but a nor'easterly will keep the temperature down.

"The high will break down by the weekend and you will need your raincoats next week."

Timaru has topped 40C twice, once on February 6, 2011, hitting 41.3C, and on January 22, 1908, when it reached 40C.

Meanwhile a flood alert was released for the Tekapo River as 130 cumecs (cubic metres per second) of water continues to spill from Lake Tekapo.

It is expected to continue through this week.

Canterbury medical officer of health Dr Daniel Williams warned people to take care.

"Most people enjoy hot weather, but very hot weather can be dangerous for anyone, particularly the old or very young, or people who are already unwell.

"Overheating can lead to confusion, lethargy and problems with breathing or heart rate."

He said people should drink plenty of water and avoid the sun at the hottest point of the day.

People should also wear sunscreen, a hat and loose-fitting clothing if they go outdoors.

Dr Williams said people should also be sensible about exercise and encouraged them to ventilate their homes and vehicles.

He said anyone who was concerned about overheating should talk to their doctor or phone Healthline for advice from a registered nurse on 0800 611 116.

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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