Cold snap brings record lows

  • 14/07/2015
The cold weather was the product of a cold front moving over the country and clear skies (file)
The cold weather was the product of a cold front moving over the country and clear skies (file)

Locations across New Zealand, from Cape Reinga to Stewart Island, have had some of their coldest days on record this month.

Figures released by the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research show 30 areas across the country have had close to either their lowest daily maximum temperature or lowest daily minimum temperature ever for July.

Northland, in particular, has been feeling the chill, with Kaitaia, Kerikeri and Warkworth breaking records and slipping below 0degC last week.

Further south, Greymouth broke its 1947 record low, dipping to -2.6degC, and in the King Country, Te Kuiti residents experienced a new July low of -5.9degC.

But it's not just the daily minimum temperatures that have been chilly for this time of year.

The maximum temperatures on both ends of the country have tumbled. Cape Reinga, in the north, experienced its lowest daily maximum temperature in July ever on Friday, with a temperature of 10.8degC, while on the other end of the country South West Cape felt its third-lowest.

NIWA climate scientist Gregor Macara said the weather was the product of a cold front moving over the country and clear skies.

"Clouds act like a blanket at night and trap heat over the Earth's surface, whereas clear skies enable enhanced night-time cooling as this heat escapes the atmosphere," he said. "This process has contributed to the severe frosts observed lately."

Last week, hundreds of people on the North Island's east coast were left without electricity for days after snow and sleet took down powerlines and forced road closures.

The country's motorway networks have also been affected and there were ice warnings across both islands last week.

NZN