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Current climate: January 2019

January 2019 was characterised by lower than normal pressure to the south and south-east of New Zealand and higher than normal pressure over the Tasman Sea. This pressure set up led to more south-westerly winds than normal across the country.


It was New Zealand’s 3rd warmest January on record. Temperatures were above average (0.51-1.20°C above average) and well above average (> 1.20°C above average) across the country. The only exceptions were the coastal margins of Westland and western Southland where temperatures were near average (-0.50°C to +0.50°C of average). Many locations observed record or near-record warm mean, mean maximum or mean minimum January temperatures.


Rainfall was below normal (50-79% of normal) or well below normal (<50% of normal) across much of the North Island. The only exception were the districts of Napier and Hastings where above normal rainfall was observed (120-149% of normal). In the South Island, rainfall was well below normal in Nelson, Marlborough, Tasman and parts of Canterbury. For the remainder of Canterbury and the upper West Coast, rainfall was below normal. Conversely, above normal rainfall was observed in parts of Otago and Southland.

Soil Moisture

As of 2 February soil moisture levels were lower than normal in Northland, Auckland, parts of Waikato, Manawatu-Whanganui, Wellington, Tasman, Nelson, Marlborough and the Buller District. Soil moisture levels were largely near normal around Canterbury, Otago, Southland, Hastings District and Gisborne.

Departure from average air temperature for January 2019
End of month water balance in the pasture root zone for an average soil type where the available water capacity is taken to be 150 mm.
Percentage of normal rainfall for January 2019


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