It's official - Nelson is the sunniest place in the country. Photo: Supplied

Nelson wins sunshine crown

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The Nelson region has topped the country for sunshine hours – coming out with a whopping 2555 hours over the last year.

According to the New Zealand Climate Summary, issued by Niwa yesterday, 2018 was the 2nd warmest year on record with an average temperature of 13.41°C. Four of the past six years have been among New Zealand’s warmest on record.

The Nelson region experienced the highest sunshine hours with 2555, followed by Bay of Plenty with 2518 hours and Marlborough with 2503 hours.

Farewell Spit also had the highest mean temperatures since records began in the 1860s
However, the report also noted that 2018 began on a wet note for much of the North Island and upper South Island, although the lower South Island was quite dry in January.

Ex-Tropical Cyclones Fehi and Gita brought well above normal rainfall to much of New Zealand in February. During Gita on 20 February, 148.4 mm of rain was recorded in Motueka-Riwaka between 4am and 6pm, or 173 percent of their February normal rainfall in just 14 hours.

The highest air temperature of the year was 38.7°C recorded at Alexandra, followed by 37.6°C at Clyde and 37.4°C at Middlemarch, all of which occurred on 30 January.