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Wet Wellington – Record Rainfall for January

Wet Wellington – Record Rainfall for January

Last month’s downpours produced the wettest January since records began in some parts of the Wellington region, according to the latest figures from Greater Wellington Regional Council. Greater Wellington hydrologist Laura Watts says some sites received three times their normal rainfall.

“In most parts of the Wellington region rainfall was above the average for January, with Wellington City, Porirua, the Hutt Valley and central Wairarapa receiving nearly twice the usual monthly rainfall. Meanwhile the Kapiti Coast, Wainuiomata and the eastern Wairarapa hill country received two-and-a-half to three times the average January rainfall.”

Ms Watts says Greater Wellington’s monitoring of rainfall from over 40 sites across the region shows January’s rainfall broke a number of records.

“It was the wettest January in Wellington City, Porirua and the Hutt Valley since 1991. Wainuiomata experienced the third highest rainfall in January in 114 years. The 250mm it received has only been exceeded in 1953 and 1897, since records began in 1890. Similarly, in the eastern Wairarapa hill country, January 2004 was the wettest January since records began in 1956, with the total for the month being over three times the usual rainfall total.”

She says much of January’s rain in the region occurred between 19 and 21 January, with Wainuiomata, Orongorongo and the eastern Wairarapa hill country receiving the most rainfall during a south-easterly storm.

“The higher than normal rainfall for this time of the year also resulted in higher river flows. The average river flows for January were up to two times higher than usual. The peak flows following the 21 January rainfall were unusually high for this time of the year. River flows in most rivers are significantly higher than at this time last year. For example, the Waikanae river flow at the end of January was nearly three times higher than the same time last year,” Ms Watts says.

Up-to-date information on river flows and rainfall during the last 24 hours can be found on the Greater Wellington website www.gw.govt.nz.

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