A cool January for most of New Zealand
January 2014 was characterised by much lower pressures than normal over and to the west and south of New Zealand, and close to near normal pressures were situated off the southeast coast of Australia.
These regional pressure patterns resulted in a strong southwesterly flow anomaly across the country, which caused significantly lower than normal temperatures for the time of year across much of the country, especially in the south and west.
Temperatures for January were well-below average for the South Island and much of the Waikato and Manawatu-Wanganui regions (more than 1.2°C below January average). Temperatures were below average for the remainder of the North Island (0.5-1.2°C below January average), except for Hawke’s Bay, Gisborne, eastern Northland and Auckland, as well as the coastal strip north of Bank’s Peninsula in the South Island, where near average temperatures were observed (within 0.5°C of January average).
The nation-wide average temperature in January 2014 was 16.2°C, (0.9°C below the 1971-2000 January average from NIWA’s seven-station temperature series which begins in 1909).
Well below normal rainfall (less than 50 percent of January normal) was experienced in Northland, parts of Waikato, Hawke’s Bay, and around Christchurch. Below normal rainfall (50-79 percent of January normal) was recorded in the remainder of those regions as well as Bay of Plenty. In contrast, well above normal rainfall (more than 149 percent of January normal rainfall) was recorded in Wellington region, as well as parts of Marlborough, Central Otago, and Fiordland.
Above normal rainfall (120-149 percent of January normal) was recorded in parts of north Canterbury and Taranaki, and near normal rainfall (within 20 percent of January normal) was experienced elsewhere.
• The highest temperature was 33.8°C, recorded at Leeston (near Christchurch) on 19 January.
• The lowest temperature was -2.7°C, observed at Waiouru on 27 January.
• The highest 1-day rainfall was 220 mm, recorded at North Egmont on 4 January.
• The highest wind gust was 183 km/hr, observed at Cape Turnagain on 16 January.
• In January 2014, Auckland was the warmest, Dunedin was the coolest and cloudiest, Christchurch was the driest, Wellington was the wettest, and Tauranga was the sunniest of the six main centres.