Current climate: February 2016
During February 2016, significant tropical activity combined with higher than normal air pressure to the east of New Zealand and lower air pressure than usual south of the country produced more northerly to north-easterly winds than normal over the North Island and more north-westerlies than normal over the South Island.
Rainfall was well above normal (>149% of normal) in Nelson, as well as parts of Northland, Auckland, the Bay of Plenty, Waikato, Tasman, the West Coast and Southland. Conversely rainfall was well below normal (<50% of normal) for the eastern portions of Gisborne, Hawke’s Bay, Manawatu-Whanganui, Wellington, Canterbury and Otago.
February temperatures were well above average (>1.20°C) across the entirety of New Zealand with the exception of a handful of climate stations where above average (+0.51°C to +1.20 °C) temperatures were recorded. February 2016 was the second-warmest February, and second warmest of any month, on record for New Zealand according to the NIWA seven station series.
Sunshine was generally above normal (110-125%) or well above normal (>125%) in the South Island and southern parts of the North Island. Below normal (75-89%) sunshine was recorded in the Bay of Plenty and parts of Waikato. Auckland and Northland recorded near normal February sunshine hours (90-109%).
As of 1 March 2016, soil moisture levels were above normal for the time of year for eastern Northland and Auckland, Coromandel, the Bay of Plenty, northern Tasman, Nelson and parts of eastern Waikato and Southland. Drier than normal soils were evident in the remainder of the North Island as well as eastern parts of Canterbury and Otago.