Monday, July 13, 2015

Cold mornings

We’ve had cold mornings for the past several days, and by cold, I mean, for Auckland, very cold. The cold snap is ending tomorrow, apparently.

The image at left (click to embiggen) is a screen grab of the MetService weather app for iPad, one of two weather apps I have on my mobile devices (the other is Accuweather’s app). I snapped it Saturday morning.

For the benefit of my American friends, 5.5 degrees is about 41.9 F, and the predicted high of 12 is 53.6F. As a native of the Chicago region in the USA (Chicagoland, as we call it), I don’t think that’s particularly cold. But it’s all relative, isn’t it? We become used to a place, and I now find Auckland colder in winter than I did when I first arrived.

Saturday morning, a friend in South Auckland posted a photo of the thermometer at his house at 7:30am: 1.5 outside and 8.4 inside (that’s 34.7F and 47.2 respectively). A friend in Hamilton—which is much colder in winter than Auckland is—said the temperature in his house at around 8am was 2 degrees (35.6F). This is because in the old days, houses were built without insulation. I talked about that way back in 2007 and again in 2012, in the context of talking about houses in general. I also talked about it (and Auckland winters) from an expat American’s perspective in 2008.

Fortunately, our house is better insulated even than many built around the same time (the turn of the last century) and has ducted heat pump central heating (central heating is still rare in New Zealand). So, we’re quite comfortable year round, although there can be a wee bit of a chill from draughts and also the cold air under the house. At the time I took the screenshot above, the inside temperature was 18, and we had the heating set for 19 (64.4F and 66.2, respectively). By midday, though, the inside temperature had risen to 21 (69.8F) because of the sun’s heat. The outside temperature had also risen, all the way up to a balmy 8.9 (48.02F).

When the temperatures were coldest, the outside unit of the heat pump system was grinding away, a bit like a truck idling outside our garage (though the garage is pretty much the only place we can hear it—another benefit of good insulation). But that became much quieter as the sun’s heat raised the inside temperature.

July in New Zealand is the equivalent of January in the Northern Hemisphere, so colder temperatures are to be expected. Snow has fallen in the Central Plateau and parts of the south of the South Island (actually, around Wellington, too). It doesn’t snow in Auckland, though there have been flurries from time to time when conditions are just right. I’ve never actually seen snow in New Zealand, except in the mountains, and from a distance.

Winter is my least favourite season, as I’ve said many times (many, many times…), and while Auckland’s winter is absolutely better than what I grew up with, it’s still winter.

It’s 50 days until Spring.

Footnote: I have the free version of the MetService app, which is ad supported. The traffic cameras displayed at the bottom are periodically replaced with ads (and there are 16 different traffic cameras available in Auckland). The paid version removes the ads.

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