Heatwave set to take parts of New Zealand up to 35 degrees

NZ 23/01/2020

Kiwis across the country should be bracing for a sweltering weekend, with temperatures potentially surpassing a stifling 35C.

Weather forecasters NIWA says the coming weekend could be among the hottest days of the summer so far, with 35C-plus possible in some places, while 25C will be widespread.

A map generated by NIWA shows areas highly likely to exceed 25C this coming weekend - which is a long anniversary weekend in Auckland - include Waikato, Northland, Hawke's Bay, and northern Canterbury. However, there is still a good chance most other places, excluding the west coast of the South Island, get there as well.

"Not so fun fact: Wellington has yet to reach 25 degrees so far this summer. The average is five days per summer," the forecaster tweeted.

"Only two summers have come and gone without a temp at or above 25 since 2000!"

WeatherWatch is calling it "peak summer", with a high-pressure system sitting around New Zealand bringing the high temperatures. 

It is "encouraging sub-tropical and Australian airflows over the country and boosting temperatures above normal later this week and again this weekend and into next week".

Before we get to the weekend, WeatherWatch says some areas will could 30C highs on Thursday, including Northland, Auckland, Waikato, Bay of Plenty, Marlborough and Nelson.

Other areas of the country will sit around the mid 20Cs.

The forecaster says drought-like conditions are forming in Northland, Auckland and parts of Waikato. In southern Waikato, a downpour of rain in December has now all dried up and "the growing benefits will be fast fading". 

"Unless a big, soaking, rainmaker arrives in February then the upper North Island may be heading into drought. Other regions are dry too, like Manwatau and the eastern sides of both islands. However, the top of NZ may well be the more problematic dry area," WeatherWatch says.