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Thread: A crazy year for NZ's weather

  1. #1
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    Default A crazy year for NZ's weather

    A crazy year for NZ's weather
    Last updated 11:37 26/12/2009

    At this time of year, it is easy to be blinded by the summer sun and forget all about the crazy stuff the weather gods threw at us during the year.

    And some of it was quite crazy. May was winter, August was spring, October was simply freezing, and summer came late.

    While the rest of the world had its share of topsy-turvy weather amid endless debate on the reality or otherwise of global warming, statistics show that 2009 was the fifth warmest year for the planet in the past 130 years, with 2005 the warmest and 2007 the second warmest.

    For New Zealand, the first decade of the new millennium was the warmest since records began.

    However, the stand-out features of the year for New Zealanders weather-wise were not about the warm, but more about the cold.

    In May, we were plunged straight into winter with temperatures well below average over much of the country and many places experiencing record lows.

    Metservice forecaster Bob McDavitt said freezing conditions were caused by a number of low pressure systems lingering just east of New Zealand, held there by a blocking anticyclone in the mid South Pacific Ocean.

    This resulted in more southerlies than normal over the country.

    But it is not always a bad thing, as another blocking anticyclone fed northerly winds over New Zealand in August, creating a false spring and the feeling that the worst was over.

    That was until October arrived. It was the coldest October in 64 years, with troughs held near the country generating all-time record low temperatures in many areas and exceptionally late snowfalls.

    And the culprit? Yes, yet another blocking anticyclone.

    The highs and lows of the year's weather, as determined by Mr McDavitt were:


    11: Flooding hits Gisborne area, golf ball-sized hail hits the Kaimai Ranges, and a waterspout tosses over a yacht in the Hauraki Gulf.


    8: The hottest day of the year is recorded at Culverden, North Canterbury, where the mercury tipped 38degC.

    20-23: Severe rain from the remains of Tropical Cyclone Innis brings surface flooding to parts of Wellington, Levin and Palmerston North. In Tauranga, the annual kapa haka festival is washed out for the first time in 36 years.

    27-28: Heavy rain forces the cancellation of the annual summer concert at Mission Estate in Hawke's Bay.


    5-7: Storm takes out trees and powerlines as it crosses Northland, Auckland, and the Bay of Plenty.

    11: Snow coats the Remarkables, near Queenstown.


    9: Snow coats the Southern Alps

    27: Heavy rain causes flooding in Westland, forcing homes to be evacuated. About 120 trampers are airlifted from the Milford Track.


    8-10: Snow traps tourists on the Lindis Pass in Otago.

    17: Tornado hits Taranaki. Flooding in Canterbury.

    19: Snow to low levels in Otago.

    21: Snow and ice trap motorists on the Central Plateau.

    30: Snow to low levels in Canterbury and around Dannevirke.


    28-30: Heavy rain, strong winds and thunderstorms in the north and north-east of the country. Civil Defence emergency declared in Gisborne as rivers rise.


    11-13: High winds and rain affect Northland

    23-24: Flooding, slips, and rail line closures as heavy rain and winds sweep across Wellington and eastern North Island.


    1-2: Avalanche closes Milford Rd and takes 10 days to clear.

    31: More flooding and rail line closures in Wellington region.


    5-6: Record frosts during a slow-moving anticyclone

    14: Extreme north-west winds push temperatures as high as 29degC in eastern South Island.

    24: Deep low brings snow to low levels in northern Wairarapa and southern Hawke's Bay.


    4-5: Another deep low brings snow to low levels in Hawke's Bay and the Central Plateau. Estimated to be the heaviest October snowfall in the area since 1967, it killed thousands of lambs, closed roads, and stranded hundreds of travellers.

    8-9: Third low brings snow to Otago, Canterbury, and Marlborough.


    13-15 and 26-28: High winds hit the country, creating havoc.


    14: Severe thunderstorms hit Canterbury, with hails as large as golf balls damaging crops.

    25: Glorious summer weather arrives it time for holidaymakers everywhere except Wellington and the south of the South Island. Forecasters say it is the most settled summery Xmas weather in a decade.

    From here.
    Mother Bear

    Try to bloom wherever you are planted.

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    Default Niwa: See-sawing temperatures marked 2009

    Niwa: See-sawing temperatures marked 2009
    12:29 PM Wednesday Jan 13, 2010

    See-sawing temperatures characterised New Zealand's weather in 2009, according to National Institute of Water & Atmospheric Research's annual climate summary.

    Heat waves occurred in January and the start of February; May was the coldest on record; October had its lowest temperatures since 1945; and August was the warmest August ever, the report released today said.

    In individual months, especially September and November, daily temperatures frequently broke long-standing records, with extremely cold temperatures often occurring within a week or so of record hot events.

    For the year as a whole, temperatures were near average - within 0.5C of the long-term average - for most of the country, but were between 0.5 and 1.0C cooler than average in parts of Auckland, Waikato, Manawatu, southern Hawke's Bay, Wairarapa, Wellington, Marlborough, inland Canterbury, and eastern Otago.

    The national average temperature for 2009 was 12.3C, 0.2C below the long-term normal.

    More here.
    Mother Bear

    Try to bloom wherever you are planted.

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    Wellington wettest in 'seesaw' year
    By TOM FITZSIMONS - The Dominion Post
    Last updated 05:00 14/01/2010

    In a year of weather extremes, Wellington stood out as the wettest main centre last year.

    The capital also had snow on the south coast, a Hutt Valley train derailing because of a landslide and its coldest June temperature on record before the year was out.

    Nationally, the outlook was so variable that Niwa climate experts have dubbed it the year of the "seesaw" when it came to temperature, according to its 2009 climate summary.

    Unlike the beginning of this year, 2009 dawned with two scorching months, with many areas recording temperatures above 34 degrees celsius. But the golden weather was short-lived, with the heatwaves making way for the coldest May on record.

    In Wellington, strong winds cut power to 2500 homes in Karori and Makara on May 15, with another 1200 homes in Upper Hutt in the dark on the 23rd and 24th. Flights out of the city and ferries were also cancelled, roads were closed and boats came off their moorings because of the May buffeting.

    But the biggest surprise of all was saved for the last day of the month, when snow fell to sea level on Wellington's south coast.

    Winter continued in the same vein around the country, with heavy snowfall, low temperatures and a series of avalanches in the South Island.

    Wellington recorded its lowest June temperature on record, slipping below freezing point with 0.6C on the 8th.

    A nasty storm in July caused a train, with 300 passengers on board, to be stranded after derailing north of Upper Hutt. On the same day, a slip at Pukerua Bay stopped traffic on State Highway 1, five houses in Silverstream were evacuated and the Eastern Hutt Rd was under a metre of water.

    Some of the worst weather was yet to come though, with heavy snows in October stranding hundreds of travellers on the Napier-Taupo Road and causing the deaths of newborn lambs.

    But not every month was so grim throughout the country it was the warmest August on record, and sunshine totals in December were higher than normal.

    By the end of the year, Wellington had topped the rainfall totals of the main centres, with 1274 millimetres during the year.

    The city's 2079 sunshine hours were lower than all its rivals, apart from Dunedin, which recorded only 1704 hours.

    From here.
    Mother Bear

    Try to bloom wherever you are planted.

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