June was the warmest recorded in New Zealand since reliable records began over 150 years ago. Temperatures reached more than 3 °C above normal in some inland sheltered areas of the eastern South Island.
The June national average temperature of 10.3 °C was 2.0 °C above normal. Only June 1971 (10.2 °C) was anywhere near as warm. Above average sea surface temperatures around much of New Zealand, especially to the north and west, contributed to the anomalously warm June land temperatures as did the predominantly northerly airflows over the country during the month.
Low rainfall in the east
Rainfall was less than 50% of average in parts of coastal Canterbury despite the wet weather at the end of the month. It was also drier than average in some other eastern regions from Gisborne to coastal Otago. Rainfall was also less than 75% of average in eastern Northland and much of Coromandel.
The Nelson area was deluged with 250–300% of normal rainfall for June, the highest June falls on record, while above average rain was recorded in all western regions from coastal Waikato to Fiordland, as well as in parts of north and west Otago.
Sunny in the east
Sunshine hours were above average in most eastern regions from Gisborne to Southland, with record high June totals in eastern Otago. Totals were below average in the north and west of the North Island.
Percentage of average rainfall for June 2003 (recording sites shown with dots). Click to enlarge.
Difference from the average air temperature in degrees Celsius for June 2003. Click to enlarge.