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The lull between two storms

August 18, 2004

The lull between two storms

Sandwiched between the extreme weather of February and July (with more lashing the country at present), Autumn seemed comparatively peaceful. But it was not without natural hazards, according to the latest update from the Natural Hazards Centre.

Sizeable earthquakes were recorded in the North Island, although the largest were at a depth of over 40 km. The biggest were: 5.1 at Kawerau (March 12) and Ohura (May 5); 5.2 at Maketu (May 31); and 5.4 offshore in the Bay of Plenty (April 17).

On April 9, residents of Fairlie were faced with a bracing -8.0°C. By contrast, on May 2, Napier hit the highest temperature ever recorded in that month in the North Island: 27.3°C. Then, a little over a fortnight later, on May 19, temperatures in Ranfurly were down to -5.7°C.

March saw severe river floods in the Kaituna River (Bay of Plenty), the Ongarue River (central North Island) and the Matukituki River (west of Wanaka). On the other hand, rainfall recorded at Tiritiri Lighthouse in the Hauraki Gulf, Te Puke, and Rotorua Airport was just 6-9% of normal.

Other features of note included hail up to 20 centimetres deep, which fell in Wanganui on April 6, and waves up to 9.3 metres high recorded in Cook Strait and off the Canterbury coast in May.

The Natural Hazards Centre is a joint initiative of the National Institute of Water & Atmospheric Research (NIWA) and the Institute of Geological and Nuclear Sciences (GNS).


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