The cicadas are subdued for this time of year, and with the arrival of predicted first-week-in-February rain, summer, if by that we mean long runs of sunny weather, has sadly almost ended for Auckland. Thankfully for families the torrential rain that affected some areas earlier in the week withdrew the day before Waitangi Day.
However for Auckland the last continuous uninterrupted whole week of clear skies is likely to be from 23 February to 2 March. Even so, temperatures may still climb again to reach above 25°C at times until the second week in March, which is when the region sees a likely descent into autumn figures.
Not that autumn will be cool. Temperatures should periodically keep reaching the 20°C -25°C bracket until the fourth week in May. It may even mean short sleeves and T-shirts for much of autumn. Overnight lows in Auckland are not expected to enter single digits until the second half of May.
But no one can say we have not had a glorious summer. The good weather clicked in around 20 November and from then until now, a period of some 80 days, there have only been 8 recorded rain days in Auckland. Summer air pressures have been high in January and will not be as high again for 4 summers.
It has been a season out of the bag, and next summer may not be as hot. Apart from a couple of hot days next February around the full moon phase, another month of oppressively high temperatures is not expected until February 2016.
The reason has been the closer Moon over the early summer months, magnifying the air tide and allowing more of the Sun's warmth to reach the ground. This situation is now changing, with the Moon moving further away after February and over March, but returning to closer perigees after May.
In the first week of January an approaching low from a dying Pacific cyclone system looked threatening but it did not affect us. It has been the same in this first week of February, with the remains of the tropical low around the Kermadecs threatening to cause us damage but instead brought only wind and heavy falls welcomed as relief from dry conditions especially over the North Island.
All cyclones this season are predicted to be fizzers as regards significantly affecting NZ. The reason is the Moon’s declination at perigee which has now moved south, away from the more intense cyclone-breeder portion of what is an 8.85-year cycle.
Aucklanders can now plan their autumn. Apart from a 5-day dry spell between 14-19 March, such intervals of clear skies uninterrupted by a shower that go longer than 4 or 5 days are unlikely for Auckland until 8 December.
April is an unsettled weather month for northern regions, with some torrential falls which may cause flooding in the second week. From that second week onwards and for the rest of April northeasterlies may be Auckland’s prevailing winds.
May starts off with northeasterlies and most of May's rain for Auckland should be in the first half of the month. Although skies will be calmer after the 18 May there should still be showers every few days until the month's end.
Rain has broken the dry spell in the Waikato and should now continue there off and on for another fortnight. March brings needed relief to the top half of the North Island and the many brown hills and paddocks will slowly revert to green. Although the third week in March is the driest week, in most areas that dry weather will be short lived.
From 21-31 March much rain can be expected across the whole North Island apart from Hawkes Bay, which should only receive heavy rain 20-22 May and which is also when the top of the South Island may face flood mode, and wind and rain may affect Auckland.
The west and south of the South Island may also get flooding rains in the last ten days of March. By 21 April there could be floods and landslips in Coromandel and flash flooding in Wellington. In the first week of May Taranaki may be hit by a deluge with floods coming to New Plymouth. And the first, second and fourth weeks of June sees Waikato receiving rain that may last for the next two months, swelling the Waikato River.
The increased chances of rain coincide with the Moon being closest to earth this year over May, June and July. The highest tides for the year are around the perigees in January, February, June and July. Extreme tides correlate with extreme seasonal weather patterns.
In short, there is much rain due to arrive in autumn months for both islands. North Islanders should make the most of their remaining week of summer in the days following 22 February.
Ken Ring of www.predictweather.com is author of Weather Almanac for NZ for 2013, publisher Random House.