Record-challenging warmth returns
It may be winter, but it’s going to be so warm this weekend temperature records are likely to tumble.
Tropical winds are coming New Zealand’s way bringing abnormally mild temperatures from Friday night through to early Sunday, mainly from mid-Cantebury through to the Far North.
While all-time monthly records are unlikely to be broken, daily records might be broken on Saturday when maximums are forecast to be anywhere from 5 to 7°C warmer than average. Several places may also have their mildest 23 July overnight on record, particularly across the North Island.
Tropical winds from north of Vanuatu will stream southward, allowing temperatures across New Zealand to rise to levels more typically experienced during late spring than mid-winter. As air blows off the Southern Alps and ranges of the central North Island into the lower terrain to the east, it will warm considerably. This is known as a foehn wind.
Daily record temperatures for 23 July, South Island:
- Christchurch 18.8°C (2005)
- Rangiora 17.8°C (2005)
- Waipara 17.6°C (1973)
- Kaikoura 19.7°C (1998)
Daily record temperatures for 23 July, North Island:
- Whanganui 17.7°C (1988)
- New Plymouth 15.6°C (1998)
- Napier 20.3°C (1942)
- Wairoa 19.5°C (1973)
- Gisborne 19.5°C (1973)
- Hamilton 17.8°C (1984)
- Auckland 18.3°C (2011)
Overnight record minimum temperatures for 23 July:
- 9.5°C in Christchurch (1988)
- 13.6°C in Napier (1988)
- 13.7°C in Gisborne (1988)
- 11.3°C in Hamilton (2012)
- 12.4°C in Tauranga (2012)
- 9.4°C in Taupo (1988)
- 14.2°C in Auckland (1988)
Weekend heavy rain, thunderstorms and wind gusts
In addition, heavy rain and locally severe thunderstorms may cause damage across the west of the South Island on Saturday and west and north of the North Island on Saturday night. Total rainfall might range from 75 to 150 mm across the west of the South Island and 50 to 100 mm across the west of the North Island.
Wind gusts in excess of 150 km/h are possible in the west of the South Island, across the Cook Strait and Wellington, and for much of the western and central North Island later Saturday through early Sunday. Wind of this magnitude may cause power outages, hazardous driving conditions, and minor structural damage. A burst of strong winds with gusts of 80 to 120 km/h is forecast to come across the Auckland region very early Sunday morning.
On Sunday, showers and strong, gusty winds will continue across the west of both Islands with snow for the ski fields of the South Island. Through the end of July, mild periods, especially for the east of the South Island and the North Island, will alternate with cool ones.
There are some indications that a more impressive cool snap could come around the start of August.
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