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Climate Summary for October 2017

A very dry and warm month for the South Island interior.


October 2017 was characterised by higher than normal sea level pressure over New Zealand and the surrounding seas. This consistent high pressure resulted in settled, warm conditions over much of the country during the month, but this was occasionally punctuated with rainfall events, particularly in the east of both North and South Islands.

The focus of the month was the extremely dry conditions in Otago and Southland. Only a few millimetres of rain fell in some parts of Otago during the whole month. Dry conditions were experienced elsewhere too, particularly in southern Canterbury, Kapiti Coast, and Gisborne. This resulted in soils being much drier than normal for the time of year in these locations, which could be of concern heading into the driest part of the year.

It was a warm month for much of the country. Extreme warmth was experienced in Central Otago and Southland on a couple of days during the month, which resulted in several records or near-records for October.

Due to the limited rainfall in the southern South Island, it was a sunny month there. Most areas recorded near normal sunshine hours. It was a cloudy October in the northern North Island, however.

Further Highlights:

  • The highest temperature was 30.0°C, observed at Cromwell on 20 October.
  • The lowest temperature was -3.0°C, observed at Mt Cook Airport on 6 October.
  • The highest 1-day rainfall was 89.8 mm, recorded at Takaka on 7 October.
  • The highest wind gust was 152 km/hr, observed at Akitio on 22 October.
  • Of the six main centres in October 2017, Auckland was the warmest and least sunny, Dunedin was the coldest, driest, and sunniest, and Tauranga was the wettest.
  • Of the available, regularly reporting sunshine observation sites, the sunniest four locations in 2017 so far (1 January – 31 October) are Blenheim (2039 hours), Richmond (2037 hours), Whakatane (2028 hours) and Napier (1978 hours).



Ms Petra Pearce, Climate Scientist
Tel. 09 375 2052



Rainfall was well below normal (<50% of normal) for most of Otago as well as parts of Northland, Gisborne, Kapiti Coast, Marlborough, southern Canterbury, and Southland. Rainfall was below normal (50-79% of normal) for parts of Northland, Auckland, Manawatu-Whanganui, Wellington, Wairarapa, Canterbury and Southland. Rainfall was well above normal (>149% of normal) for parts of western Bay of Plenty, Waikato, the east coast of the South Island, West Coast, and Fiordland. Rainfall was above normal (120-149% of normal) or near normal (80-119% of normal) elsewhere.


Temperatures were well above average (>1.20°C of average) in parts of Auckland, Coromandel, Manawatu-Whanganui, Kapiti Coast, Nelson, Canterbury, Otago, Southland, and Fiordland. Temperatures were above average (0.51-1.20°C above average) for most of the rest of the country, except for some eastern coastal areas of both Islands that recorded near (-0.50°C to +0.50°C of average) or below (-1.20°C to -0.50°C of average) average temperatures.


Sunshine was well above normal (>125% of normal) or above normal (110-125% of normal) for Otago and Southland as well as parts of the Wellington and Taranaki regions. Sunshine was near normal (90-110% of normal) for most other parts of the country, except for Auckland and parts of Northland where sunshine was below normal (75-89% of normal).

Soil Moisture

As at 1 November, soils were much drier than normal for the time of year for interior Otago and interior Southland, Tasman, Kapiti Coast, Taranaki, Gisborne, and Northland. Soils were wetter than normal for the time of year in Bay of Plenty, eastern Waikato, and the east coast of the South Island.