Current Climate - June 2012
Lower pressures than usual affected the area to the southeast of New Zealand during June 2012, resulting in more southwest winds than normal over the country. The month was notable due to several rapidly deepening, intense weather systems in the New Zealand region. In particular, a rapidly deepening low over the Tasman Sea on 5 and 6 June produced heavy precipitation in Tasman and Buller, and snow to sea level in Canterbury, whilst intense lows on 18 and 25/26 June resulted in severe winds across the South Island (and heavy rainfall in some areas).
It was an unusually dry June in the north and east of the North Island, as well as in South Canterbury. Rainfall totals in Northland, Coromandel, Bay of Plenty, Gisborne, Hawkes Bay, and South Canterbury were less than half of June normal, and it was the driest June on record for Whangarei, Rotorua and Whakatane. Below normal totals (between 50 and 79 percent of June normal) were also observed in Auckland, Waikato, Taranaki, Central Plateau and the Wairarapa.
In contrast, it was an extremely wet June over the northern half of the South Island, with totals exceeding 120 percent of normal. Notably, in Christchurch and Nelson, totals were in the order of twice the June normal (i.e. 200 percent of normal). Near normal June rainfall totals were generally observed elsewhere.
June 2012 was notable for an extremely cold event on 6 June, in which afternoon (maximum) temperatures in Canterbury, Blenheim, around Arthurs Pass, and on the West Coast set new low records for the month, and in some cases, broke all-time (any month) records, too. Maximum temperatures on 6 June in Canterbury struggled to reach even 1 degree, with heavy snow falling throughout the daylight hours. In between southerly outbreaks, winter-time ridges of high pressure brought clear skies, and light winds, to the country on 13, 16, 17, and 30 June, producing extremely cold mornings and/or severe frosts for many regions.
For the month as a whole, it was unusually cool in eastern and alpine areas of the South Island. In contrast, near average June temperatures were observed along the Fiordland and Westland coastline, in Central Otago, and for coastal Nelson. Elsewhere in the South Island, as well as Wellington, Wairarapa, Central Plateau and the Waikato, as well as parts of the Bay of Plenty, below average temperatures were observed (between 0.5ﾰC and 1.2ﾰC below June average). For the remainder of the North Island, temperatures were generally near average. The nation-wide average temperature in June 2012 was 7.8ﾰC (0.6ﾰC below the 1971-2000 June average), using NIWA's seven-station temperature series which begins in 1909.
It was an extremely sunny June for the southern South Island, with sunshine totals exceeding 125 percent of June normal. It was the sunniest June on record for Queenstown and Cromwell. Above normal sunshine totals were observed in most other North Island regions, too, except for Wellington and the Wairarapa, where near normal June sunshine was experienced. Sunshine totals were also close to normal across the northern half of the South Island.