Since returning from our holiday in Japan a little over a month ago, I’m beginning to wonder if somehow we’ve moved into a parallel dimension.
The people look and behave the same, places look the same, even the politicians seem the same (although the government has changed). What is different is the weather. It’s not New Zealand weather as I know it.
Aotearoa New Zealand is well know for its temperate climate. Not too cold in winter. Not too hot in summer. The average daily maximum temperature in December in my home town is 20°C (68℉), But not one day this month has the maximum daily temperature been below 24°C (75°F). I started writing the piece late morning and already the thermometer is at
23 24 25°C (77°F) outside and climbing. According to my weather station, the maximum temperature so far this month has been 34°.3C (93.7°F)!
Perhaps if you reside on or near a continental land mass, you’re wondering what the fuss is all about but weather in Aotearoa New Zealand can change unexpectedly, and newcomers to NZ frequently get caught out. Sustained high or low temperatures feel oppressive when one lives where daily temperature variations can be as large as seasonal variations, and it’s not unusual to experience four seasons in one day.
And I suspect being an Aspie doesn’t help the situation. For me, anything below 15°C (59°C) is cold, and a trigger for the symptoms of Raynaud syndrome. Anything above 23°C (76°F) and I begin to sweat profusely, and within a relatively short time I’m saturated. As I’m unable to use any antiperspirants (hypersensitive skin), the result isn’t pretty.
When hot, I find clothing extremely uncomfortable – especially typical NZ male attire. I’ve resorted to wearing a yukata in an attempt to make life more bearable. It definitely helps.
The MetService (meteorological bureau) informs us that this summer is going to be exceptionally hot, dry and windy. Already many regions have seen new seasonal records set and it’s barely mid December! Ocean temperature in many places is 2°C warmer than normal for this time of year and toxic algal bloom is affecting the gathering of kaimoana (seafood) in some areas. Not good.
There’s another issue I have with the summer season: hay-fever. It’s started somewhat earlier this year than normal. Typically it doesn’t start until mid to late December, but this year it started in mid November. For me it lasts continuously for around two months. Let’s hope that this year will be the same – over in mid January instead of the usual late February.
If you get the impression I’m not fond of summer, you’d be right. Roll on Autumn!