Winter has well and truly arrived in North Otago following a hard frost which hit the area on Monday night.
The frost was the hardest of the winter season so far, with a temperature of -4.8 recorded at the Oamaru station.
Until now, Oamaru residents could have been forgiven for thinking it was spring, with the temperature continually in double digits and the town recording 18.8 degrees on June 22.
The warmer weather experienced last month led to it being the deemed the second warmest June since records were introduced back in 1908, with 12.8 degrees the average temperature for June.
Niwa forecaster Chris Brandolino said the warmer start to winter was common all over the country.
“It was common all over New Zealand, but especially in the lower South Island, with many towns experiencing warmer temperatures due to the northerly winds which were hitting the area.”
Rainfall-wise, Oamaru was a lot drier than last year, with 31ml compared to the 186ml which drenched the town last year for the second wettest June on record.
Oamaru Airport was also in the records for the month of June, with wind gusts reaching 78km/h, the second-highest wind gust recorded during June in Oamaru since records started in 1984.
“Oamaru is quite a lucky town because it can miss a lot of the bad weather which hits Dunedin and Christchurch,” he said.
There have been some cold mornings so far and these are just a taste of what Oamaruvians can expect during the latter half of winter.
“Our winter doesn’t start getting colder until late July, early August and this is when we start experiencing some good hard frosts,” said Waitaki District Council emergency services manager Chris Raine.
However, North Otago can rest easy for the next week at least, with no real hard frosts expected until the southerly winds and temperatures return in around a fortnight.
“There will be no real frost in the meantime. The winds will be northerly and a bit warmer,” he said.
By BRAYDEN LINDSAY