Why it's been so dry

For about the last month, anticyclones have dominated the New Zealand area. Many places have had little or no rainfall since early February.

The map below shows the average mean sea level pressure over the New Zealand area over the last month or so. There's no doubt about the pressure being high and not changing very much. Because this map shows averaged pressures, we don't see the few troughs that have passed across the New Zealand area in the last 28 or so days.

It’s a fine day. Isn’t it?

What do we mean when we say the weather is “fine”?

The word fine is often used to convey the positive attributes of something. It is synonymous with good, well, enjoyable.

How are you? I’m fine!
How was the movie? It was fine.
This is a fine bottle of wine.

When we write weather forecasts we define the term fine to mean that the sun casts sharp shadows. If cloud is thick enough to stop the sun from casting sharp shadows then, even if it doesn’t rain, we don’t think that’s a fine day.

Weather Place Names

There is a lot of weather tied up in New Zealand place names. The screaming northwest gales of Canterbury are celebrated with names like Windwhistle, near the Rakaia Gorge, Mount Blowhard, near Oxford, and Nervous Knob, near Castle Hill, where gusts of 240 km per hour have been measured. Fine weather gets a mention with Sunnynook and Sunnyvale, both near Auckland. We have a Misty Peak and a Cloudy Bay and rainbows are well represented, being used to name an island, a mountain, a lake and a pass.

New Website Enhancements to Come

MetService has continued to receive a lot of feedback about the new website design over the Christmas break.

You'll notice some enhancements over the next few weeks. The main changes will be:

- Graphical information on the Rural and Towns and Cities pages - we hear ya! We will be reviewing how the rainfall and temperature information is displayed.

- Automatic play of maps e.g. radar, 3 Day and 5 Day Rainfall Maps. You will notice these maps will no longer animate on page load.