Feeling hot, hot, hot? May warmest on record

  • 31/05/2011

By Tony Field

If you have felt a bit sweaty this month, it was not just a touch of flu.

Climate agency NIWA has confirmed it has been the warmest May on record.

The average daily temperature was 13.1 degrees Celsius and that is almost two and a half degrees warmer than usual.

The surprisingly warm and wet conditions have been great for the garden.

“The warmth of course is vital for plant growth, but the combination with the humidity as well, and rainfall, every time we have needed it along it's come,” says Jack Hobbs from the Auckland Botanic Gardens.

NIWA says the month was almost two and a half degrees warmer than usual - more like the temperatures you would get in the first week of April.

The downside - twice the usual amount of rain and a month of extremes with floods, storms and a tornado.

“It is characteristic La Niña; warm, wet, volatile, but so remarkably warm that when it rains, it really rains, almost all regions of the North Island and most of the South,” says NIWA scientist Georgina Griffiths.

No wonder the grass has been growing so fast - although the boggy conditions can make life tricky, especially if you cut lawns for a living.

“I've had to tow the big machine out already a couple of times, normally that's not until July or August that happens. But I’ve been caught out a few times already, just like a rookie,” says Graham Watson of Jim's Mowing.

But NIWA says the winter ahead will still see temperatures about average - and with less of the extreme weather of May.

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