Once in a blue moon: Ultra rare weather event & how winter 2023 compares to previous years

Once in a blue moon: Ultra rare weather event & how winter 2023 compares to previous years

While New Zealand has seen some of the most extreme weather including one of the worst natural disasters in the country's history, winter weather is not something many Kiwis tend to look forward to every year.

So has this year really been 'the worst winter in a long time' or are we all just feeling the strain of a number of factors adding together creating some of the toughest times to be a farmer in a long time?

Well, it turns out Weather Watch Chief Executive Phil Duncan, who constantly keeps his finger on the pulse when it comes to anything weather, more than likely has all the answers to your most burning questions.

He explained to REX host Dominic George why many New Zealanders will have noticed an abnormal lack of super-frosty days this winter.

"Yeah, it was unusual," he admitted. 

"I mean, we've seen frosts up towards Auckland, but most of the main centres have not been that bad, and the frosts haven't been major."

The discussion further highlighted the shifting weather patterns from a warm start to the year to an abrupt cold plunge in August, resulting in overnight lows and unusual snowfall in some areas. 

"Overnight lows in Auckland have been down around four, five degrees. And that means the rest of the country has been a lot colder as well."

Switching gears, the conversation turned skyward with the rare phenomenon of a super blue moon that is set to occur on Thursday night, the last night of August and winter. 

Despite its name, the super blue moon doesn't actually appear blue but got its name due to its rarity. The event occurs when there are two full moons in one month and the second full moon appears larger and brighter than normal.

While Duncan humbly confessed he wasn't an expert on the subject, providing the evening is clear he is hopeful it will be a spectacular sight.

"I think tonight is going to be quite amazing as long as it's not too cloudy.

"I hope that most people will be able to see it, even with the cloud because it is so impressively bigger and brighter tonight," he said.

If you do want to catch the first super blue moon in over a decade, the best time it is said to be most impressive right as the sun is setting and the moon is rising.

Whether you're a farmer needing to plan ahead, a weather enthusiast, or just generally wondering whether your thoughts about this winter's weather patterns were true or not, Weather Watch's Chief Executive has all the answers you could possibly need.

Listen to the full chat between Weather Watch Chief Executive Phil Duncan and Dominic George above.

To check out more episodes listen to the REX Today Podcast anytime on your favourite streaming platforms including Spotify, Apple Music and Rova or tune in to REX Mornings live on Magic from 5 am to 6 am every weekday.

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