Far North weather records galore set in 2015

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Last year was officially dry, hot and sunny according to NIWA's summary of 2015's highlights, with a number of new records set in the Far North.

Overall Kaitaia was the second-warmest location in the country, along with Mangere, Auckland's North Shore and Whangaparaoa, with a mean temperature of 16.0 degrees Celsius (as recorded at the airport), just one-tenth of a degree behind Whangarei.

NIWA principal forecasting scientist Chris Brandolino wasn't surprised by the north topping the temperature charts, for the fourth year in a row.

"It's not called the Winterless North for no reason. I think you'd find that 95 per cent of the time the top average annual temperatures will be in Northland or Auckland," he said, some of the credit going to the El Nino weather pattern, which had been holding sway over the country since June.

"You've had a full half of the year with El Nino as the main climate driver, so that's certainly had some say," he said.

Nation-wide the average temperature, as recorded by NIWA's seven-station series, was 12.7 degrees, one-tenth of a degree up on the long-term average (1981-2010), making it the 27th warmest year recorded since the seven-station series began in 1909.

Meanwhile Kaitaia basked in 2363 hours of sunshine, placing it 14th in New Zealand and setting one of nine new records around the country. Total rainfall (941mm) was also a record (since records began in 1948), although the Northland Age recorded 1146.8mm, making it the driest year for a decade but well above the record low of 853mm, set in 1931).

Kaitaia also recorded its third-lowest daily maximum temperature for July (9.6 degrees) and a record June maximum of 20.8 degrees.

Kaikohe, with a mean temperature for the year of 15.7 degrees (sixth equal nationally, along with Kerikeri and Cape Reinga), recorded its fourth-lowest rainfall total (since 1956) of 1115mm, its second-highest mean maximum temperature (19.5 degrees), its fourth-highest mean minimum (11.9 degrees), its fourth-lowest July maximum (10.0 degrees), a record November highest minimum (18.5 degrees) and a record November maximum (25.8 degrees).

Kerikeri also endured record low rainfall (since 1981) of 1071mm, its fourth-equal-highest mean maximum temperature (20.6 degrees), a record low minimum for July (-0.7 degrees), a record lowest daily minimum for November (3.2 degrees) and a record high daily minimum for November (18.7 degrees).

- Northland Age

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