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Cold, wet December for most

Published: 7:07PM Monday January 01, 2007 Source: One News

If you have been thinking all the recent rain and wind has made for an unseasonably cold summer you're right. New Zealand has had the lowest December temperatures in more than 50 years.

Campers have been fleeing from raging rivers, the capital's new year party was a washout and the beaches are near empty.

So where is the sun?

MetService figures show the average December temperature in the five main centres has been 2 to 3 degrees lower than usual.

"Often in December the weather is quite variable but certainly the temperatures have shown that this has been the coldest December for many places for a long long time," Alistair Gorman says.

Gorman says MetService records going back to the 1920s have not temperatures this cold.

Canterbury's lifesavers are dealing with the cold first hand as they adjust their wardrobes and become accustomed to barren beaches.

"Numbers have been down considerably from this time last year," says lifesaver Luke Parsons.

The summer so far has been dominated by southerlies and cold seas.

"Because New Zealand's surrounded by ocean on all sides that does have a big driving effect and sea temperatures have been about a degree cooler than normal," says Gorman.

"We usually get our better months in January or February and possibly even through to March so we've still got some chance."

And forecasters say the sun should shine by about Wednesday or Thursday.