Masterton was one of 18 towns across New Zealand to attract a MetService heat warning yesterday, even though the temperature in town was three degrees Celsius lower than Sunday’s scorching 33C.
Wairarapa was also the subject of two severe thunderstorm watches issued by the national meteorological agency over the long weekend.
The first severe thunderstorm watch – for Sunday from 2pm to 8pm – turned out to be a false alarm, while the second – for late morning and early afternoon yesterday – did deliver relatively brief downpours and bouts of lightning in southern Wairarapa, with the possibility of more to come later in the evening [after print time].
The MetService heat warnings, which were launched in November, are being trialled until the end of March, and are intended to help reduce the health impacts from hot weather.
Using 20 years of data, meteorologists have picked a threshold for 46 locations across the country, with the alert being triggered should the mercury spike.
The other towns to receive heat warnings yesterday were Kaitaia, Paihia, Russell, Auckland, Hamilton, Tokoroa, Te Kūiti, Whakatāne, Taupō, Taumaranui, Napier, Whanganui, Palmerston North, Levin, Wellington, Blenheim, and Kaikōura. Kawerau had the day’s high, with 32C.
Masterton ‘enjoyed’ the hottest temperatures in New Zealand on Sunday, although it was still two degrees shy of the 35C record high for the town, set in January 2021.