New Zealand National Climate Summary 2004
2004: Very Stormy At Times Devastating Floods And Extremely High Rainfall In Several North Island Regions; High Winds And Late Winter Blizzards; Very Wet In Some Areas And Cool
The New Zealand climate record of 2004 reflected a nation prone to extreme climatic events. Forest fires, flooding assessed as the worst in living memory, tornadoes, blizzards, hailstorms and persistent storms with gale force winds characterised a year of dramatic climate extremes. Principal Scientist Dr Jim Salinger, of the NIWA National Climate Centre, says the year produced new records for rainfall, temperatures and sunshine in most months and was dominated by strong stormy westerly and south westerly winds more frequent than normal.
“There were rogue qualities in the overall climate pattern. These included the anticyclones that dominated in January and then gave way to stormy westerlies and south westerlies in February which produced the most extreme rainfall and flooding experienced in Manawatu and Taranaki since the 1920s. Overall the year was one of the wettest on record in parts of the Bay of Plenty, some eastern North Island sites, Manawatu, Kapiti, Upper Hutt and Wairarapa. Few districts escaped the storms and heavy rainfall that battered most of the country at different times.”
“Anticyclones predominated in April and July, with northerlies or northwesterlies in May and June. Weak El Niño conditions appeared in the Equatorial Pacific during August, and strong southwesterlies and deep depressions in the vicinity of the Chatham Islands influenced the climatic patterns through to December. The final month produced a finale with the strongest airflows from the south and south west on record”
The year began with very high temperatures accompanied by high winds, producing life threatening forest fires in early January in Canterbury. These gave way to record rainfall in Taranaki/Wanganui making flooding the dominant climate hazard by the end of February. June was very warm and July brought another bout of flooding in the Bay of Plenty, whilst the south stayed extremely dry. August received very persistent cold southerlies producing blizzards and high winds. Persistent strong cold stormy south westerlies dominated the remainder of the year, with December being unusually cold.
“For the year there were at least 28 heavy rainfall events of which 12 produced floods, mainly in the North Island. The February storms were disastrous, bringing widespread damage to the Wanganui-Manawatu region assessed at over $300 million, and the July floods in eastern Bay of Plenty were reported to be the worst in the district in living memory. High country regions were affected by many snowfall events from autumn through spring, one as early as March, with several resulting in transport cut and lambs lost”, said Dr Salinger. Of the 19 high wind events, the 15 February southerly storm and the damaging southerly winds of 17-18 August, along with a tragically destructive tornado a few days earlier, were most severe. There were also four damaging hailstorms.
NIWA analyses of month-by-month
records and preliminary end of year data show: The year’s
national average temperature was 12.3°C (0.3°C below
normal), the lowest since 1993.
The highest annual mean temperature recorded for the year was 15.3°C recorded at Whangarei. The highest recorded extreme air temperature for the year was 38.4°C recorded at Darfield on New Year’s Day, equal to the highest January temperature on record for the South Island. A late-autumn heat wave occurred in Hawke’s Bay on 2 May, with a record 27.3°C at Napier, a new May all-time record for the North Island. June was the 5th warmest since measurements commenced in the 1850s. The lowest air temperature for the year was –12.0°C, recorded at Fairlie on 16 July, the 3rd lowest July air temperature since records commenced in 1925. December was the 5th coldest on record. The driest rainfall recording locations were Middlemarch in eastern Otago with 441 mm of rain for the year, followed by Alexandra with 492 mm. Christchurch was the driest of the four main centres with 643mm and Wellington the wettest with 1447 mm. Auckland received 1331 mm and Dunedin 765 mm. Of the regularly reporting gauges, the Cropp River gauge in Westland, inland in the headwaters of the Hokitika River, recorded the highest rainfall with a 2004 annual total of 10960 mm. Christchurch was the sunniest of the four main centres with 2096 sunshine hours, followed by Wellington (2073 hours) and Auckland (2066 hours). Dunedin recorded 1746 hours. Nelson was the sunniest centre in 2004, recording 2457 hours, followed by Blenheim with 2393 hours, and then Tauranga with 2360 hours. The highest recorded wind gust for the year was 183 km/h at Baring Head on 18 August, with hurricane force southerlies and mean speeds as high as 140 km/h.
PREVAILING CLIMATE PATTERNS – WEAK EL NINO LATER IN THE YEAR
Overall, more depressions (‘lows’) over and east of the South Island prevailed, with stronger stormy westerly and south westerly conditions over the country. Anticyclones (‘highs’) were prevalent in January, leading to warm conditions, which gave way to very stormy westerly and south westerly and southwesterly conditions producing the most extreme rainfall and flooding experienced in the Manawatu / Taranaki area since at least the 1920s. Anticyclones predominated in April and July, with northerlies or northwesterlies in May and June. Strong south westerlies and deep depressions in the Chatham Islands area, dominated the remainder of the year from August through to December. A weak El Niño prevailed in the equatorial Pacific from August onwards, which was one of the factors promoting more south westerlies. Sea temperatures around New Zealand fluctuated during the year.
EXTREMELY HIGH RAINFALL IN SEVERAL NORTH ISLAND REGIONS; DRIER IN KAIKOURA AND EASTERN OTAGO
2004 was one of the wettest years on record in parts of Bay of Plenty, Manawatu, Kapiti, Upper Hutt and the Wairarapa. Rainfall was more than 125 percent of normal in Manawatu, Wanganui, eastern Bay of Plenty, Horowhenua, and Wairarapa, and at least 110 percent of normal in Waikato, King Country, south Taranaki, Wellington, western Bay of Plenty, Gisborne, Nelson, and Southland. Totals were 75 to 90 percent of average in coastal Marlborough, and eastern Otago. Rainfall was near normal elsewhere.
Of the four main centres, Christchurch was the driest with 643 mm (102% of average) and Wellington the wettest with 1447 mm (116% of average). Auckland received 1331 mm (107%) and Dunedin 765 mm (94%). Middlemarch, in eastern Otago, was the driest of the sites where NIWA measured rainfall, with only 441 mm (85% of average), followed by Alexandra with 492 mm in Central Otago (134% of average). Of the regularly reporting rainfall stations, the wettest location in 2004, for which rainfall data are presently available was the Cropp River gauge in Westland, inland in the headwaters of the Hokitika River, with an annual total of 10920 mm.
annual rainfall for the year 2004 were measured at:
Location 2004 rainfall (mm) Percentage of normal Year Records began Comments
Whakatane Airport 1539 133 1975 2nd highest
Castlepoint 1367 140 1902 2nd highest
East Taratahi 1298 139 1973 Highest
Hicks Bay 1921 138 1993 Highest
Mahia AWS 1583 156 1992 Highest
Paraparaumu Airport 1445 140 1945 Highest
Palmerston North Airport 1173 132 1944 Highest
Palmerston North 1355 140 1929 Highest
Wallaceville 1760 133 1924 2nd highest
Farewell Spit 1678 130 1875 Highest
Tiwai Point 1530 138 1971 Highest
COOLEST YEAR OVERALL IN MORE THAN A DECADE
The 2004 national average temperature, calculated by NIWA, was 12.3°C, 0.3C below the 1971 – 2000 normal, and the lowest since 1993. For New Zealand as a whole, there were seven cooler than average months (February through April, and July through September, and December), four warmer than average months (January, May, June and November), and one month with mean temperatures close to the climatological average (October). The warmest locale was Whangarei, with a mean temperature for the year of 15.3°C (0.3°C below average).
2004 mean temperatures were about 0.3°C below average in most regions, but at least 0.7°C below average in parts of Auckland, King Country, inland Bay of Plenty, coastal Wairarapa, Buller, and inland areas of the South Island.
Lower than normal mean temperatures for the year 2004 were measured at:
Location Mean temperature (°C) Departure from normal Year Records began Comments
Warkworth 13.7 -0.8 1973 Lowest
Rotorua Airport 12.0 -0.8 1964 3rd lowest
Taumarunui 12.0 -1.0 1948 Lowest
Castlepoint 12.9 -1.2 1973 Lowest
Wanaka Airport 9.8 -0.8 1993 2nd lowest
Manapouri Airport 8.5 -0.7 1992 2nd lowest
Clyde 9.5 -1.0 1984 2nd lowest
Tiwai Point 9.8 -0.8 1971 Lowest
SUNNY IN EAST OTAGO, NEAR NORMAL ESLEWHERE
Sunshine hours were more
than 105 percent of normal in coastal Otago, less than 95
percent of normal in Waikato, Taupo, Manawatu, south
Taranaki, and the Southern Lakes, and near normal in all
other regions. Nelson was the sunniest centre in 2004,
recording 2457 hours, followed by Blenheim with 2393 hours,
and then Tauranga with 2360 hours. Total sunshine hours for
the year 2004 in selected main centres were:
Location 2004 Sunshine (hours) Normal (hours) Departure from normal Comments
Auckland 2066 2019 +2% Near normal
Wellington 2073 2064 0% Near normal
Christchurch 2096 2100 0% Near normal
Dunedin 1746 1597 +9% Above normal
Invercargill 1664 1609 +3% Near normal
For further information, please contact: Dr Jim Salinger, NIWA - Auckland, Tel (09) 375 2053 (Business) or (027) 521 9468 (Mobile) Stuart Burgess – Climatologist, NIWA National Climate Centre, Wellington Tel. (04) 386 0569
© Copyright NIWA 2005. All rights reserved. Acknowledgement of NIWA as the source is required.
SIGNIFICANT WEATHER AND CLIMATE EVENTS - 2004
FLOODS AND HIGH RAINFALL
There were at least 28 heavy rainfall events during 2004, of which many produced floods, mainly in the North Island. The event that produced the Manawatu/Rangitikei floods in mid February was very extensive and by far the most destructive.
• 18-23 January A depression brought significant rainfall to the lower North Island from the 18th-23rd, with heavy falls, totalling 50 to 100 mm in Wairarapa on the 20th.
• 29-30 January High rainfall totalling 150 to 200 mm occurred in parts of Northland, especially Kaitaia, from the 29-30th. Rainfall totalling 74 mm was measured at St Bathans (Otago) and the 30th, with reports of flash flooding in the Wanaka district.
• February overall More than 1000 mm was recorded in the Tararua Ranges for the month. This was due to a number of high rainfall-flood producing events, on the 1st, and especially between the 14th and 18th of February. The latter, produced the most disastrous floods in the Wanganui, Manawatu/Rangitikei region for many decades, as well as flooding in southern Hawkes’ Bay, Wairarapa, Lower Hutt, and Picton. Hundreds of people were left homeless, considerable areas of farmland were inundated by silt and floodwaters, many rivers breached their banks, sheep and cattle stock were drowned or swept away by floodwaters, many bridges were damaged, and numerous roads closed, along with power, gas and water supply outages to tens of thousands of people. The cost of damage resulting from the floods has well exceeded $200 million. Further flood producing rainfall occurred in parts of Northland, Auckland, Coromandel, Waikato, Bay of Plenty, King Country, and Taranaki on the 28th.
• 1-5 February Heavy rainfall occurred throughout Northland, Auckland, Waikato, Taranaki, Wanganui, Wellington, Marlborough, and Westland, totalling 50-100 mm in the 24 hours to 9am on the 2nd in many areas. The were floods at Castor Bay and Hillsborough on the North Shore, in Auckland, with 55 mm in 2 hours during the morning of 2 February. Crail Bay, in Pelorus Sound, recorded a record for February there (since measurements began in 1983), of 154 mm most of which fell in about 15 hours during the night of 1/2 February. Rainfall later spread to western Bay of Plenty and Fiordland, totalling about 60 mm for the 24 hours to 9am on the 3rd. Heavy rainfall occurred throughout Auckland and around East Cape totalling 50-70 mm in the 24 hours to 9am on the 5th in many areas.
• 9-12 February Heavy rainfall occurred in Fiordland and the Southern Alps, totalling 116 mm in the 24 hours to 9am on the 10th at Mt. Cook Village. Rainfall occurred later in Ruapehu, totalling about 82 mm for the 24 hours to 9am on the 12th. The Hutt River overflowed near Melling after heavy rainfall on the 12th, flooding adjacent roads.
• 14-16 February High rainfall occurred around East Cape totalling 129 mm in the 24 hours to 9am on the 15th. Further widespread rainfall totalling 65-150 mm occurred in the 24 hours to 9am on the 16th in many population centres (with very much higher totals in excess of 250 mm in the high-country of the Tararua and Orongaronga Ranges) throughout the southwestern North Island, from Taranaki to Wellington, as well as in southern Hawke’s Bay, and Wairarapa. A civil state of emergency was declared in Wanganui, Manawatu and Rangitikei, the towns of Scotts Ferry, Waitotara, Fielding, Tangimoana, Longburn, Marton, and Hunterville being badly affected by floodwaters. Hundreds of people were left homeless, considerable areas of farmland including crops were inundated by silt and floodwaters, many rivers breached their banks, sheep and cattle stock were drowned or swept away by floodwaters, many bridges were damaged, and numerous roads closed, along with power, gas and water supply outages to tens of thousands of people. The towns of Woodville, Waipurakau, Martinborough, and the city of Wanganui were also affected as nearby rivers flooded. On the 16th the Wellington region was also suffered, with about 500 people in Lower Hutt evacuated due to floodwaters. Many commuters were unable to enter Wellington, as sections of some roads out of the city were closed, including the rail service from the Hutt Valley.
Record high 1-day rainfall was recorded at:
Location Rainfall (mm) Date Year Records began Comments
Waiouru 134 15 Feb. 1950 Highest for any month
Ohakune 123 15 Feb. 1974 Highest for any month
• 17-18 February Rainfall totalling over 100 mm occurred in Fiordland, with rainfall totalling 50-80 mm spreading to the Southern Lakes, Westland, Wanganui and Taranaki on the 18th. Parts of Picton and Waikawa Bay were flooded after heavy rainfall on the 18th. Picton recorded 40mm in 40 minutes. A civil emergency was declared due to a threat of possible dam burst.
• 20-23 February Rainfall totalling 100-200 mm occurred in Fiordland, south Westland, and the Southern Lakes.
• 28 February A depression from the Tasman Sea and the remnants of tropical cyclone Ivy produced further high rainfall, totalling over 100 mm in parts of Northland, Coromandel, Waikato, Bay of Plenty, King Country, and Taranaki. 30 houses were flooded in Turangi as the Tongariro River overflowed its banks
• 10 March High rainfall totalling 224 mm occurred in Mt. Cook Village on the 10th.
• 8 and 27/28 April High intensity rainfall totalling 124 mm occurred in Motueka on the 8th. Further high rainfall totalling 207 mm occurred at Tauranga Airport over the 27-28th (130 mm in the 28th). Rainfall exceeded 100 mm in other parts of Bay of Plenty during the same period. The high rainfall was the highest there since 2001, and resulted in floods, as drains were unable to cope with the deluge.
• 1, 12, 14, 23 and 28 May High rainfall totalling 50-100 mm occurred in Northland, Auckland, and Coromandel on the 1st, with further high rainfall in Coromandel, and western Bay of Plenty, on the 14th. Rainfall totalling 88 mm was recorded in Takaka on the 12th, with 50 mm in Gisborne on the 23rd. The month ended with 50-65 mm rainfalls in parts of Northland, Rotorua, and Golden Bay on the 28th.
• 15, 18, and 29/30 June Significant high intensity rainfall totalling 106 mm occurred at Arapito on the 15th, 101 mm in Motueka on the 18th, and 96 mm at Westport on the 20th. Surface flooding, after several consecutive days of rainfall to the 21st closed SH43 between Stratford and Taumarunui, and SH32 between Tokoroa and Whakamaru. Flooding also occurred on SH1 between Taupo and Turangi. SH4, 54 km north of Wanganui, was blocked by a landslide, and slips blocked a lane in the Manawatu Gorge. A slip also closed SH2 south of Opotiki in the eastern Bay of Plenty. Rainfall and flooding affected the East Cape/Gisborne region on the 29th and 30th, as a deep depression brought gale force southeasterlies to the district. Rainfall totals of 150 to 180 mm were reported between Te Puia and Tologa Bay. Rainfall totalled 153 mm at Hicks Bay and over 50 mm in Gisborne on the 29th. A number of residents were evacuated due to flooding in Mangatuna. A large land slip blocked SH35 near Potaka, with damage to roads between Anaura Bay and Waihau Bay, and also near Wairoa. Gales also affected Hawke’s Bay, where 11,000 homes were out of power due to fallen trees.
• 15-18 July Prolonged rainfall, often heavy in intensity, occurred in Bay of Plenty, between the 15th and 18th of July resulting in severe, devastating, flooding, slips and landslides, cuts to water supply, and a state of emergency, throughout the Rangitaiki Plains in the eastern Bay of Plenty. About 2000 people were evacuated from their homes, with a further 2000 people on standby. Edgecumbe, Te Teko, and Whakatane were the worst affected areas, with people also evacuated from part of Opotiki. More than 17,000 people faced shortages of drinking water. Much of SH2 was blocked. The flooding was reported to be the worst in the district in living memory. Whakatane Airport recorded rainfall totalling 246 mm for the 48 hours to 9am on the 18th (the highest 2-day rainfall there, well in excess of the previous maximum, in records back to 1974), and 140 mm in 24-hours. Opotiki recorded even higher rainfall, totalling 280 mm in 48-hours. At least 500 evacuees were still unable to return to their homes and large areas of low-lying farmland remained swamped at the end of the month. The damage bill is expected to be in the tens of millions of dollars.
• 11-14 and 17-19 August High rainfall in Fiordland and the Southern Alps from the 11th to 14th, totalling 434 mm at Milford Sound, of which 202 mm occurred on the 11th. High rainfall accompanied a wind storm from the 17-19th, with surface flooding in Lower Hutt and Masterton, with rainfall totalling 50-100 mm in many areas, and as much as 140 mm in the Orongaronga Ranges. There were many slips. Buses from the Hutt Valley were also cancelled, and several schools were closed. Thousands of commuters could not make it to work.
• 28-September The same weather system that brought snowfall to Canterbury on the 28th also produced high rainfall and surface flooding in parts of Manawatu. The Manawatu River and Te Horo stream were in flood; the latter breaching its banks southwest of Otaki and the former on SH 57 between Shannon and Palmerston North. Several houses were evacuated due to flooding in Foxton, and two in Pahiatua. Landslips occurred between the Manawatu Gorge and Woodville.
• 15 October Thunderstorms produced high intensity rainfall in Napier, where up to forty people were evacuated, many cars stranded, phones out, about 300 houses were without electricity, and nine schools were closed. Steady, but heavy, rainfall occurred at Napier Airport, totalling 42.4 mm in the 3-hours to 4am, with intensities as much as 15 mm in an hour. An unofficial total of 143 mm was reported in Tamatea, where flooding was worst, with water up to 1 m deep in some roads. High rainfall and surface flooding also occurred on the same day in Pongaroa, totalling 130 mm in 12-hours.
• 19-20 November Heavy rainfall totalling 252 mm was recorded at Milford Sound for the 24 hours to 9am on the 20th.
• 28-30 December Rainfall totalled at least 60 mm occurred in the Bay of Islands on the 29th and Bay of Plenty on the 30th. The 28-29th was also very wet in Buller and Westland, with 162 mm in Takaka on the 29th and 280 mm for the 2-day period recorded at Franz Josef.
experienced unusually high rainfall at various times during
the year. These were:
Location Rainfall (mm) Percentage of normal for the month Year Records began Comments
Kaitaia 174 204 1986 3rd highest
Waione 174 238 1992 Highest
East Taratahi 102 208 1973 Highest
Haast 512 252 1986 Highest
Cape Reinga 266 372 1920 3rd highest
Kaitaia Observatory 309 401 1986 Highest
Kerikeri 347 366 1982 2nd highest
Kerikeri Airport 342 325 1979 2nd highest
Mokohinau Island 220 479 1935 2nd highest
Warkworth 230 224 1973 Highest
Henderson 240 376 1986 Highest
Owairaka 277 424 1949 2nd highest
Auckland Airport 272 417 1962 Highest
Pukekohe 210 252 1979 Highest
Whitianga Airport 280 318 1988 Highest
Matamata, Hinuera 228 283 1921 3rd highest
Tauranga Airport 237 304 1898 Well above normal
Te Puke 320 325 1973 Highest
Hamilton, Ruakura 220 311 1906 3rd highest
Hamilton Airport 332 496 1936 2nd highest
Port Taharoa 314 457 1974 Highest
Rotorua Airport 283 279 1964 2nd highest
New Plymouth 398 416 1863 2nd highest
Lower Retaruke 420 478 1962 Highest
Taupo Airport 181 265 1976 Highest
Turangi 395 388 1968 Highest
Waione 289 339 1992 Highest
Castlepoint 223 308 1902 2nd highest
East Taratahi 232 487 1973 Highest
Martinborough 235 571 1951 Highest
Hicks Bay 350 454 1991 Highest
Paraparaumu Airport 361 648 1945 Highest for any month ever
Palmerston North Airport 271 469 1944 Highest
Palmerston North 299 476 1929 Highest
Levin 269 446 1896 Highest
Wellington, Kelburn 364 587 1862 Highest
Wellington Airport 291 568 1960 Highest
Wallaceville 403 629 1924 Highest
Stratford 638 535 1961 Highest
Normanby 187 405 1978 Highest
Ohakune 375 490 1975 Highest
Waiouru 307 515 1951 Highest
Wanganui, Spriggens Park 239 361 1890 Highest
Farewell Spit 346 672 1875 Highest
Takaka 339 322 1986 Highest
Arapito 256 181 1979 2nd highest
Hokitika Airport 347 209 1964 Highest
Reefton 260 255 1961 Highest
Blenheim Research 124 187 1930 2nd highest
Tiwai Point 200 191 1971 2nd highest
Henderson, Auckland 217 203 1986 Highest
Auckland Airport 217 236 1962 Highest
Mangere, Auckland 191 190 1959 3rd highest
Whitianga Airport 304 223 1991 2nd highest
Te Puke 255 224 1973 Highest
Whakatane Airport 173 219 1975 Highest
Hicks Bay 309 169 1991 Highest
Arapito 407 205 1978 2nd highest
Arthurs Pass 681 194 1917 3rd highest
Milford Sound 962 222 1930 3rd highest
Whakatane Airport 363 345 1975 Highest
Castlepoint 216 231 1902 2nd highest
East Taratahi 184 232 1972 Highest
Mahia AWS 246 221 1991 Highest
Oamaru Airport 127 299 1941 2nd highest
Invercargill Airport 134 188 1940 3rd highest
Tiwai Point 194 268 1970 Highest
Campbell Island 226 201 1941 Highest
Waione 177 201 1991 Highest
Kerikeri EWS 206 199 1981 2nd highest
East Taratahi 146 268 1972 Highest
Martinborough 209 330 2001 Highest
Ngawi 152 198 1989 Highest
Winchmore 149 249 1947 2nd highest
Timaru Airport 141 313 1956 2nd highest
Ettrick 162 222 1985 2nd highest
Gore 215 235 1971 Highest
Nugget Point 170 209 1983 Highest
Invercargill Airport 230 231 1940 Highest
Tiwai Point 225 253 1970 Highest
Chatham Islands 168 306 1951 Highest
RECORD LOW MONTHLY RAINFALL AND LOW SOIL MOISTURE LEVELS
January Continuing dry conditions occurred in parts of Otago and Southland, in the Christchurch area and central Marlborough, where soil moisture deficits are significant. However useful rainfall, particularly in the last week, brought relief to dry soils in Wairarapa, Northland, and other areas in the east of the South Island.
February Soil moisture deficits remained significant in parts of central Marlborough, Canterbury, and Otago.
March Rainfall was well below average in the northern South Island, many locations recording less than 50 percent of average totals. Moderate soil moisture deficits persisted in parts of central Marlborough, Canterbury, and Otago, with field capacity maintained in western areas of both islands.
April Rainfall was well below average over much of the northern half of the North Island until almost the end of the month. Less than 50 percent of average April totals occurred in Northland and Auckland. Soil moisture levels were below average in the north and east of the North Island, with some significant deficits in North and Central Otago.
November Rainfall was less than 50 percent of average in Hawke’s Bay, resulting in the development of significant soil moisture deficits there.
measured record low rainfall at various times during the
year. These were:
Location Rainfall (mm) Percentage of normal Year Records began Comments
Kaitaia Observatory 8 10 1986 Lowest
Kerikeri 7 5 1936 2nd lowest
Kerikeri Airport 7 5 1978 Lowest
Kaikohe 5 4 1987 Lowest
Dargaville 9 9 1943 Lowest
Warkworth 11 10 1973 Lowest
Whangaparaoa 6 8 1987 Lowest
Tiri Tiri Lighthouse 6 8 1946 Lowest
Henderson 14 14 1986 Lowest
Owairaka 17 18 1949 2nd equal lowest
Auckland Airport 8 11 1962 Lowest
Pukekohe 12 11 1970 Lowest
Whitianga Airport 8 5 1988 Lowest
Paeroa 14 13 1914 2nd lowest
Te Puke 9 6 1973 Lowest
Whakatane Airport 16 15 1975 Lowest
Rotorua Airport 10 9 1964 Lowest
Cape Reinga 18 16 1920 3rd lowest
Owairaka, Auckland 39 37 1949 2nd lowest
Pukekohe 30 27 1970 2nd lowest
Whitianga Airport 38 28 1991 Lowest
Paeroa 26 24 1914 3rd lowest
Ruakura 24 26 1906 3rd lowest
Waiouru 22 28 1951 Lowest
Hokitika Airport 88 35 1964 3rd lowest
Franz Josef 37 8 1983 Lowest
Mt Cook Village 81 22 1930 3rd lowest
Lake Tekapo 6 12 1927 3rd equal lowest
Wanaka Airport 8 17 1993 Equal lowest
Kaikoura 8 10 1949 Lowest
Rangiora 4 6 1965 2nd lowest
Christchurch Airport 6 9 1944 2nd equal lowest
Kaikoura 16 21 1949 2nd lowest
Dunedin Airport 6 12 1963 Lowest
Dunedin, Musselburgh 11 16 1918 2nd lowest
Manapouri Airport 28 30 1991 Equal lowest
Kerikeri 51 28 1982 Lowest
Kaikohe 44 33 1973 Lowest
Whangarei Airport 35 28 1937 2nd lowest
Warkworth 50 36 1972 Lowest
Franz Josef 193 28 1982 2nd lowest
Le Bons Bay 23 25 1987 Lowest
Waione 177 201 1991 Highest
Pukekohe 44 46 1987 Lowest
There were many periods with snowfall, between March and September, being:
• Unseasonable March snowfall A cold southerly outbreak produced snowfall on the Desert Road over the night of the 28/29th, resulting in a temporary closure, with scattered hail in exposed eastern regions. This is the earliest significant snowfall event in the year for the Desert Road since 22 March 1993 when 5cm occurred.
• 6 April A cold southerly outbreak produced snowfall in Canterbury near the foothills on the 6th, with snow a few cm of snow lying at both Oxford and Darfield. The air temperature at Snowden was just 3°C at 3pm that afternoon. Snowfall occurred to about 500 m in the North Island on the same day.
• 24 May Snow settled in Methven on the 24th.
• 1 and 22 June Cold southwesterlies brought snowfall to the central North Island on 1 June, closing the Desert Road. Further cold southwesterlies produced heavy snowfall in Central Otago, Arthur’s Pass, Nelson Lakes, and the Ruapehu/Tongariro district of the central North Island on 22 June, resulting in the closure of SH94 between Te Anau and Milford Sound, SH1 between Waiouru and Rangipo, and other alternative routes SH49 between Ohakune and National Park, and the route to Whakapapa Village on Tuesday due to snow and ice, with motorists stranded in the snow.
• 3-4, 23, and 28 July The North Island’s Desert Road SH1 was closed between Waiouru and Taihape due to snowfall, as much as 20 cm deep, on the 3rd and 4th of July, and several motorists had to be rescued. SH4 at National Park and SH47 from National Park to Turangi were also closed, and about 50 cm of fresh snow was reported on Turoa ski field. The Desert road was closed due to further snowfall on the 23rd. Snowfall also occurred on the Taupo to Napier highway on the same day, with up to 100 trucks, and also motorists, stranded between Rangitaiki and Te Pohue. Cold southerlies brought further snowfall to 500m in inland high country areas of Canterbury on the 28th.
• 15–19 and 22-28 August Snow fell to low levels in the east of the South Island on the 15th, from Southland to Canterbury, with depths to 10 cm in some inland areas, and also at the summit of the Rimutaka Hill Road north of Wellington. Dunedin Airport was closed, along with SH1 north and south of the city. Several Dunedin schools were closed. Further snowfall from the 17-19th resulted in the closure of many central North Island high country roads, including the Napier-Taupo highway. More, bitterly cold, southerlies spread over New Zealand from the 22nd, followed by snowfall to near sea level in the east of the South Island, and sleet and hail in the south and east of the North Island, with snow closing roads near Dunedin, as well as many central North Island high country roads (20-30 cm on the Desert Road) and the Rimutaka Hill Road. Further snowfall occurred to near sea level in Canterbury on the 27/28th and as low as 300 m in the lower North Island (including the Kapiti hill country and the Orongorongo Ranges). As much as 20 cm of snowfall was reported near the summit of the Rimutaka Hill Road.
• 18/19 and 28 September Snowfall and low temperatures occurred in inland areas of Southland and Otago on the 18/19th, during which time thousands of newborn lambs died from exposure. Further snowfall occurred in inland areas of Canterbury on the 28th, also with a loss of newborn lambs from exposure. Snowfall also occurred on the Desert Road, the Rimutaka Hill Road, SH1 between Kaikoura and Cheviot, and most South Island high country passes.
• 23 and 25 November Cold southerlies brought snowfall to parts of the Otago high country on the 23rd and 25th.
• 18-19 December Rough weather buffeted the country over the weekend of 18-19 December, a very cold and unseasonable southerly outbreak bringing gale force southerlies to exposed southern and eastern areas. Snowfall occurred as low as 600m in the South Island, with a light fall on the Desert Road in the central North Island. Temperatures were 6-8 ºC below normal in many southern and eastern regions.
• 29 April Violent electrical storms occurred over Stanmore Bay, Whangaparoa Pensinsula on the 29th, resulting in power outages.
• 22 June Lightning severely damaged an Auckland house, cracking the ceiling, destroying electrical connections and equipment, smashing glass windows, and damaging roofing tiles.
• 19 December A fire occurred in a house after a lightning strike.
SEVERE OR DAMAGING HAIL STORMS
• 6 April Hail was widespread throughout Wanganui, after a 30-minute storm that struck about 3.30 pm producing a thick layer of hailstones (up to 20 cm deep in places) whitening the ground in the city, damaging roofs, and causing disruptions to traffic.
• 5 and 7 July Extensive damage to shops and stock occurred due to flooding after a heavy hailstorm in Hokitika on the 5th. Another heavy hailstorm occurred southwest of New Plymouth affecting roads and traffic near Oakura on SH45 on the 7th.
• 12 and 27/28 August Isolated large hailstones were reported in Upper Hutt associated with thunderstorms on the 12th, and again in the Wellington region on the 27/28th.
• 17/18 October On the 17th, thunderstorms with hailstones “the size of peas” affected Carterton for about 15 minutes during the late afternoon. Hail also struck several Hawke’s Bay orchards at about 3 am on the 18th resulting in damage to apples and stonefruit, one orchardist noting that it was “the worst he had seen”.
• 29/30 November Thick hail blocked guttering and melting water flooded several shops, with power outages in Oamaru over the night of 29/30 November.
• 18-19 December Hail covered roads in Auckland, and thick hail covered the beach at Port Waikato during thunderstorms on the 19th. Hailstones ruined fruit in parts of Auckland, Hawke’s Bay, Tasman, and Canterbury.
TORNADOES, GALES, HIGH WINDS, AND ROUGH SEAS
• 20-21 January A depression produced high winds in Hawke’s Bay (gusts to 109 km/h at Napier Airport on the 20th) and severe southerly gales through Cook Strait (with gusts to 174 km/h at Baring Head and 146 km/h at Brothers Island on the 21st). The severe gales and high seas resulted in the cancellation of fast-ferry sailings for two days.
• Windy February February was very much windier than usual in throughout much of the North Island and western South Island, due to a lack of anticyclones and frequent depressions tracking south of the country. Wind indices show it was a month with the strongest westerlies ever over the North Island in records back to 1941. Some wind gust statistics are:
wind gusts to at least 60 km/h
Location Days Feb 2004 Departure from normal Year Records began Comments
Auckland Airport 12 +7 1963 Highest
Tauranga Airport 8 +5 1959 Highest
Rotorua Airport 9 +7 1966 Highest
Taupo Airport 9 +5 1982 Highest
Napier Airport 10 +4 1955 2nd highest
Castlepoint 23 +6 1972 Highest
New Plymouth Airport 10 +4 1954 Highest
Levin 11 +8 1967 Highest
Paraparaumu Air. 13 +5 1954 Highest
Wellington, Kelburn 24 +5 1967 Equal highest
Westport Airport 7 +3 1954 Equal highest
Hokitika Airport 10 +6 1954 Highest
• 14-16 February Gale force southerlies, buffeted parts of the North Island, as a depression intensified east of Wairarapa, from the afternoon of the 15th into the morning of the 16th. High seas with swells of 9 m to 11 m were reported through Cook Strait. Ferry sailings were cancelled (for 1800 people) and considerable delays occurred at Wellington airport (where 200 passengers stayed overnight) and other airports due to high winds. Power cuts affected parts of Wellington during the evening of Wellington on the 15th. There were also many fallen trees, especially in the Auckland region (where 100s were reported). Winds gusted to 119 km/h in Wellington, and at the airport it was the most severe southerly storm since May 1992, and most severe February southerly event since 1967. High gusts of 230 km/h occurred in the Tararua Range, 161 km/h at Brothers Island, 154 km/h at Mt Kaukau,, and 135 at Cape Reinga on the 15th. Gusts to 163 km/h were measured at Castlepoint, 161 km/h at Mt Kaukau, 156 km/h at Baring Head, and 154 km/h at Brothers Island on the 16th.
• 21 February Northwesterlies gusted to 178 km/h at Mt. Cook Village, 167 km/h at Mt Kaukau, 163 km/h at Castlepoint, 146 km/h at Baring Head, 139 km/h at Paraparaumu Airport (the highest gust at the airport since November 1982), 137 km/h at Kelburn (the highest February wind gust there since at least 1971), and 135 km/h at Brothers Island.
• 24 February Gale force southwesterlies gusted to 119 km/h at Musselburgh in Dunedin, the highest there since November 1984, with gusts to 180 km/h reported in more exposed areas.
• 28 February A depression from the Tasman Sea and the remnants of tropical cyclone Ivy produced storm force northeasterlies gusting to 120 km/h at Cape Reinga, with gales also affecting Auckland.
• 5 May Gale force northwesterlies buffeted Wellington on the 5th, with gusts to 148 km/h at Beacon Hill and 143 km/h at Mt Kaukau. Several house roofs were lifted and windows broken by the wind in some hill suburbs.
• 22 June High winds, with gusts to 130 km/h buffeted exposed parts of Auckland on 22 June, felling trees and lifting roof tiles.
• 22 July Storm force southerlies occurred, with gusts to 115 km/h, high seas and 7 m swells through Cook Strait on the afternoon of the 22nd, during which time the Aratere endured an 8-hour journey to Wellington when mechanical problems occurred.
• 15 August A very destructive tornado occurred in Taranaki, leaving at least a 1 km path of damage, destroying a house near Waitara, and resulting in the death a woman and one child.
• 17-19 August Storm force southerlies (mean speeds at least 89 km/h) and very high seas (averaging 9m swells, periodically up to 11m) occurred through Cook Strait and in Wellington. At Wellington Airport there were 20 hours with mean wind speeds of at least 74 km/h and gusts in excess of 100 km/h from the evening on the 17th through the 18th. The highest gust recorded was 183 km/h at Baring Head, with hurricane force mean speeds as high as 140 km/h. This was the worst southerly storm to affect Wellington in more than a decade. High rainfall accompanied the storm, with surface flooding in Lower Hutt and Masterton. There were many slips, fallen trees, power outages due to lines down, and road closures. Huge waves broke over southern coastal roads. Roofs were lifted and many windows blown out. Cladding was blown off an airport hangar, and some of Wellington airport roofing was lifted. All Wellington trains, flights, and ferry sailings were cancelled. Buses from the Hutt Valley were also cancelled, and several schools were closed. Thousands of commuters could not make it to work. .
High southerly wind gusts were recorded at:
Location Highest gust (km/h) Date of occurrence
Castlepoint 135 17th
Baring Head 183 18th
Mt. Kaukau 178 18th
Wellington, Kelburn 135 18th
Wellington Airport 119 18th
Brothers Island 161 18th
• 18, 22 and 24 September High wind gusts in excess of 150 km/h occurred at well-exposed sites on several occasions during the month, with 167 km/h recorded at South West Cape on the 18th, 152 km/h at Castlepoint on the 22nd, and 156 km/h at Baring Head on the 24th.
• 14 and 17 October Thousands of houses were without power as gale force winds (speeds of 100 km/h were reported) toppled trees in the Golden Bay district on the 14th. A tornado was seen forming over land, but did not reach the ground, between Carterton and Masterton during the late afternoon on the 17th.
• 15 and 28 November Rough weather, including thunderstorms, high winds, and heavy rainfall buffeted many parts of the upper North Island on the 15th, especially Gisborne where 8000 houses were temporarily without electricity, and Auckland with some roofs damaged and trees fallen. High winds, with speeds gusting to over 130 km/hr in Hawke’s Bay uprooted a tree near Hastings which hit a vehicle and killed two people on the 28th.
• 18-19 & 22 December Rough weather buffeted the country over the weekend of 18-19 December, a southerly outbreak bringing gale force southerlies to exposed southern and eastern areas. Damaging winds occurred in Auckland, and Cook Strait ferries had long delays due to high seas, with swells up to 8 m, the 7pm sailing of the Lynx being cancelled. Damaging winds associated with a small tornado occurred in Penrose and Mt Wellington, Auckland on the 22nd, with some windows broken, damage occurring to about six houses. The winds were strong enough to move a truck.
FOUR WARMER MONTHS, SEVEN COOLER, ONE NEAR AVERAGE
For New Zealand as a whole, there were four warmer than average months (January, May, June and November), seven cooler than average months (February through April, and July through September, plus December), and one near average month (October). Some highlights were:
• Mid-summer heat wave and 11th warmest January on record The year began with a mid-summer heat wave in Canterbury, Darfield recording 38.4°C on New Year’s Day, equal to the highest January temperature on record for the South Island, and second only to 38.9°C recorded in Ruatoria in the North Island on 11 January 1979. January mean temperatures were above normal over much of New Zealand, being 1.0 to 2.0°C above average in most eastern districts from Wairarapa to Southland. The national average temperature of 18.3°C was 1.2°C above normal, the 11th warmest January since reliable measurements commenced in the 1850s. Mean daily maximum temperatures were almost 4°C above normal in inland parts of Wairarapa, and 2 to 3°C above average in parts of central Marlborough and Otago.
• Late-autumn heat wave The highest May 2004 temperature was 27.3°C, recorded at Nelson Park, Napier on the 2nd, a new May all-time record for the North Island.
• June- 5th warmest on record The June national average temperature of 9.8°C was 1.3°C above normal, and 5th highest for June since reliable measurements commenced in the 1850s. Only June 2003 (10.3°C), 1971 (10.3°C), 1916 (9.9°C), and 2002 (9.8°C) were warmer. Mean temperatures were above average everywhere, being 1.5 to 2.5°C above average throughout much of the eastern South Island from Marlborough to Central Otago as well as Wairarapa.
• Spring heat wave The highest October 2004 temperature was 29.0°C, recorded at Nelson Park, Napier on the 29th. This was Napier’s highest October temperature since 31.3°C (their record) in 1961, and 3rd highest since measurements commenced in 1868. Nelson Park also recorded 28.5°C, this month, on the 14th.
Extremes of maximum temperature in 2004 were recorded at:
Location Maximum temperature (°C) Records began Date of occurrence Comments
Darfield 38.4 1939 1st Highest for January
Woodbury 37.0 1994 1st Highest for January
Timaru Airport 36.1 1962 1 Jan. Highest for January
Winchmore 35.8 1950 1 Jan. 2nd highest for January
Hororata 36.0 1962 1-2 Jan. Highest for January
Culverden 35.0 1984 1-2 Jan. Highest for January
Snowden 34.7 2000 3 Jan. Highest for January
Middlemarch 35.0 2001 3 Jan. Highest for January
Kerikeri EWS 30.3 1982 9 Jan. Highest for any month
Whangarei Airport 31.0 1968 9 Jan. Highest for any month
Whitianga Airport 30.3 1991 12 Jan. Highest for January
Waione 33.5 1992 3 Jan. Highest for any month
Castlepoint 32.2 1973 3 Jan. Highest for any month
East Taratahi 34.2 1973 3 Jan. Highest for January
Kaikoura 31.7 1964 10 Mar. 2nd highest for March
Darfield 28.9 1939 2 April Highest for April
Kaikoura 27.5 1964 2 April 3rd highest for April
Whangarei Airport 24.8 1968 2 May Highest for May
Whitianga Airport 22.7 1991 2 May Highest for May
Hamilton Airport 22.4 1971 2 May Highest for May
Napier Airport 26.0 1974 2 May Highest for May
Napier, Nelson Park 27.3 1923 2 May Highest for May
Takaka, Kotinga 23.9 1986 2 May Highest for May
Franz Josef 21.5 1983 12 May Equal highest for May
Napier, Nelson Park 29.0 1868 29th 3rd highest
Takaka 27.9 1986 14th Highest
Motueka, Riwaka 26.7 1956 14th 2nd highest
Nelson Airport 25.2 1943 14th 2nd highest
Blenheim Research 26.5 1985 14th Highest
Awatere Valley 28.2 2001 14th Highest
Culverden 30.0 1983 7th Highest
Unusually high mean daily maximum temperatures were recorded at:
Location Mean daily maximum temperature Departure (°C) Records began Comments
East Taratahi 26.6 +2.8 1973 Highest
Dunedin Airport 23.6 +2.9 1963 Highest
Unusually high mean
monthly temperatures were recorded at:
Location Mean temperature Departure (°C) Records began Comments
Chateau, Ruapehu 14.4 +1.9 1930 2nd highest
Motueka 19.0 +1.5 1957 2nd equal highest
Nelson Airport 19.2 +1.6 1944 2nd equal highest
Blenheim Airport 19.8 +1.9 1941 2nd equal highest
Dunedin Airport 16.7 +1.7 1963 2nd equal highest
Raoul Island 24.6 +1.9 1941 Highest
Motu 10.5 +1.8 1991 Highest
Farewell Spit 13.7 +1.6 1971 Equal highest
Hanmer Forest 7.3 +2.6 1906 3rd equal highest
Kaikoura 10.9 +2.1 1964 2nd highest
Winchmore 7.8 +1.8 1950 3rd equal highest
Rangiora 8.5 +2.2 1965 Highest
Christchurch Airport 8.1 +1.9 1954 Highest
Lincoln 8.6 +2.1 1881 3rd highest
Tara Hills 4 .8 +2.2 1950 3rd highest
Dunedin Airport 13.6 +1.5 1963 Highest
Gore 12.8 +1.1 1972 Equal highest
Invercargill Airport 12.8 +1.5 1948 2nd highest
LOW TEMPERATURES AND SEVERE FROST
There were a number of periods during the year with usually low temperatures and/or severe frosts.
• Annual minima The lowest temperature for the year was -12.0°C, recorded at Fairlie on 16 August.
• Unusually frosty July Near or record high numbers of days with screen frost were recorded in July at:
Location Days with screen frost Departure from normal Year Records began Comments
Christchurch Airport 23 +10 1954 Highest
Dunedin Airport 26 +10 1963 Highest
• 22-30 August – Extended cold period Cold southerlies affected New Zealand. Kelburn in Wellington recorded 7 consecutive days from 23-29 August with maximum temperatures of 9.0°C or less, making it the longest cold spell there since July 1981. Ground frosts of about -6°C occurred in parts of Northland, Waikato and the Bay of Plenty on the 29th and 30th.
• 28 November – Damaging frost Frosts occurred in parts of Taranaki on the 27th, severely damaging blueberry crops.
• December – very unseasonable – 5th coldest on record December was the fifth coldest on record overall since reliable temperature measurements were established in 1853, and the coldest since 1945. The national average of 13.4°C was 2.2°C below normal, lower only in 1902 (12.9° C), 1911 (13.0 °C), 1914 (13.2°C), and 1945 (13.3°C). The December 2004 temperatures were equivalent to mid spring temperatures, rather than those of an early summer month. Record-breaking low mean December temperatures occurred in many places, being up to 4°C below average in inland parts of Canterbury, Otago, and Southland. The cold weather slowed the growth and ripening of berries, stone fruit, and many horticultural crops. Ground frost occurred on the 12th of December in inland sheltered areas of the North Island, including Hawke’s Bay, and Manawatu Island, and on several days during the month in many locations in the South Island. Tekapo recorded 10 days with ground frost (about twice average).
Extremes of grass
minimum temperature were recorded at:
Location Minimum air temperature (°C) Records began Date of occurrence Comments
Warkworth -6.3 1972 29th Lowest
Auckland, Henderson -6.3 1986 29th Lowest
Extremes of minimum
temperature were recorded at:
Location Minimum air temperature (°C) Records began Date of occurrence Comments
Fairlie -4.0 1925 25th Lowest
Fairlie -8.0 1925 22nd 2nd lowest
Fairlie -12.0 1925 16th 3rd lowest
Westport Airport -1.5 1937 17th Lowest
Hokitika Airport -2.9 1964 17th Lowest
Blenheim Airport -5.8 1941 24th Lowest
Kaikohe 1.4 1973 29th 3rd lowest
Manapouri Airport -6.5 1992 29th 2nd lowest
Waiouru -5.7 1966 3rd 3rd lowest
Hanmer forest -5.0 1906 3rd 3rd equal lowest
Unusually low mean monthly temperatures were recorded
Location Mean temperature Departure (°C) Records began Comments
Wanaka Airport 13.9 -3.3 1993 Lowest
Dunedin, Musselburgh 13.5 -1.7 1947 2nd lowest
Queenstown Airport 12.9 -2.5 1969 Lowest
Lauder 13.3 -2.6 1982 Lowest
Clyde 13.8 -2.9 1984 Lowest
Tiwai Point 12.4 -2.1 1971 Lowest
Cape Reinga 17.2 -1.9 1952 3rd lowest
Kaitaia Observatory 16.7 -2.5 1986 Lowest
Kaikohe 16.0 -1.9 1973 Lowest
Dargaville 16.6 -1.8 1944 2nd equal lowest
Whangarei Airport 17.1 -1.8 1968 Lowest
Mokohinau Is. 17.6 -2.5 1973 Lowest
Warkworth 15.3 -2.5 1973 Lowest
Henderson, Auckland 16.3 -2.0 1986 Lowest
Auckland Airport 16.8 -1.7 1963 Lowest
Pukekohe 15.2 -2.6 1971 Lowest
Paeroa 15.7 -2.3 1947 Equal lowest
Rotorua Airport 13.9 -2.2 1964 Lowest
Hamilton Airport 14.8 -2.1 1971 2nd lowest
Te Puke 15.6 -1.6 1973 Lowest
Taumarunui 14.0 -2.4 1948 Lowest
New Plymouth Airport 14.4 -2.3 1944 Lowest
Turangi 12.6 -2.6 1968 Lowest
Castlepoint 15.0 -2.1 1972 2nd equal lowest
Whakatu 14.1 -2.5 1983 Lowest
Wellington Airport 15.0 -1.6 1962 2nd lowest
Warkworth 13.9 -1.6 1972 2nd equal lowest
Pukekohe 13.8 -1.7 1971 3rd lowest
Turangi 10.7 -1.6 1968 3rd lowest
Castlepoint 12.6 -2.5 1972 2nd lowest
Paraparaumu Airport 12.1 -1.6 1953 3rd lowest
Wellington Airport 12.6 -1.9 1962 2nd lowest
Hokitika Airport 11.2 -1.3 1964 3rd equal lowest
Blenheim Airport 11.7 -1.4 1941 2nd equal lowest
Timaru Airport 9.2 -1.9 1962 Lowest
Tiwai Point 9.6 -1.6 1971 Lowest
Castlepoint 8.6 -1.5 1972 3rd lowest
Whakatu 6.1 -2.4 1983 Lowest
Dunedin Airport 3.6 -1.5 1963 3rd equal lowest
Castlepoint 8.5 -1.8 1972 Lowest
Westport Airport 7.9 -1.4 1937 3rd equal lowest
Puysegur Point 7.1 -1.2 1980 2nd lowest
Dunedin, Musselburgh 6.2 -1.4 1947 3rd equal lowest
Manapouri Airport 2.9 -1.9 1992 Lowest
Queenstown Airport 3.2 -1.6 1969 3rd equal lowest
Clyde 3.5 -1.8 1983 Lowest
Invercargill Airport 4.9 -1.5 1948 3rd lowest
Tiwai Point 5.3 -1.9 1970 Lowest
Cape Reinga AWS 15.5 -1.9 1951 2nd lowest
Kaitaia Observatory 15.9 -1.8 1985 Lowest
Kerikeri EWS 16.1 -1.6 1981 Lowest
Kaikohe 15.2 -1.9 1973 Lowest
Whangarei Airport 16.7 -1.6 1967 2nd lowest
Mokohinau 16.1 -2.0 1972 Lowest
Henderson, River Park 16.0 -2.2 1985 Lowest
Auckland,Owairaka 15.4 -2.4 1949 Lowest
Paeroa 15.3 -2.8 1947 Lowest
Whakatane Airport 15.1 -1.9 1974 Lowest
Rotorua Airport 13.5 -2.7 1964 Lowest
Taupo Airport 13.3 -2.3 1976 Lowest
Auckland, Mangere 15.6 -2.6 1959 Lowest
Auckland Airport 16.0 -2.2 1962 Lowest
Hamilton Airport 14.5 -1.9 1970 Lowest
Taumarunui 13.6 -3.1 1947 Lowest
Turangi 13.0 -2.7 1968 Lowest
Castlepoint 13.8 -2.9 1972 Lowest
East Taratahi 14.1 -1.1 1972 2nd lowest
Hicks Bay 15.3 -2.0 1990 Lowest
Napier Airport 16.0 -1.5 1973 3rd lowest
Mahia 15.4 -1.7 1990 2nd lowest
Palmerston North Airport 14.3 -1.7 1962 2nd lowest
Wellington Airport 15.0 -1.4 1962 2nd lowest
Wallaceville 13.9 -1.7 1939 3rd equal lowest
Stratford 12.8 -1.5 1960 2nd lowest
Takaka 14.2 -1.6 1985 Lowest
Westport Airport 12.6 -2.4 1937 3rd lowest
Hokitika Airport 12.2 -2.2 1963 Lowest
Milford Sound 11.2 -2.2 1934 Equal lowest
Puysegur Point 10.2 -2.3 1978 Lowest
Motueka, Riwaka 14.1 -2.0 1956 Lowest
Blenheim Research 14.6 -2.1 1985 Equal lowest
Blenheim Airport 14.5 -1.8 1941 2nd equal lowest
Hanmer Forest 11.6 -2.7 1906 2nd lowest
Kaikoura 13.1 -2.3 1963 Lowest
Mt Cook Village 9.1 -3.7 1929 2nd lowest
Winchmore 11.4 -3.5 1949 Lowest
Rangiora 12.3 -3.1 1999 Lowest
Christchurch Airport 13.0 -2.8 1953 Lowest
Christchurch Gardens 13.3 -2.8 1863 Equal lowest
Lincoln, Broadfield 12.5 -2.8 1881 2nd equal lowest
Lake Tekapo 9.5 -3.8 1927 2nd lowest
Timaru Airport 11.8 -2.7 1962 Lowest
Wanaka Airport 12.2 -3.6 1992 Lowest
Dunedin Airport 11.5 -2.4 1962 Lowest
Dunedin, Musselburgh 11.0 -2.9 1947 Lowest
Manapouri Airport 10.0 -3.0 1991 Lowest
Queenstown Airport 10.8 -3.5 1968 Lowest
Lauder 11.0 -3.4 1981 Lowest
Clyde 11.8 -4.0 1983 Lowest
Ettrick 11.4 -4.1 1986 Lowest
Gore 10.0 -3.5 1971 Lowest
Invercargill Airport 10.5 -2.5 1948 Lowest
Tiwai Point 10.9 -2.5 1970 Lowest
Chatham Islands 11.9 -1.8 1956 Equal lowest
Near or record
low mean daily minimum temperatures were recorded at:
Location Mean daily minimum air temperature (°C) Departure from average (°C) Records Began Comments
Christchurch Airport -1.6 -2.4 1954 Lowest
Timaru Airport -2.8 -2.6 1967 Lowest
Dunedin Airport -3.3 -3.3 1963 Lowest
Some locations experienced extremes of sunshine hours at various times during the year. February was extremely cloudy compared with average in the southwest of the North Island.
Monthly sunshine extremes for 2004
Location Sunshine (hours) Percentage of normal Year Records began Comments
Ruakura 122 62 1937 Lowest
Taumarunui 111 61 1948 Lowest
New Plymouth Airport 133 65 1916 2nd lowest
Turangi 119 61 1977 Lowest
Martinborough 120 61 1987 Lowest
Paraparaumu 127 61 1953 Lowest
Palmerston North 106 56 1930 Lowest
Wellington, Kelburn 145 69 1928 2nd lowest
Stratford 133 64 1963 Lowest
Blenheim Research 173 75 1986 Lowest
Stratford 230 131 1963 3rd highest
Nelson Airport 263 124 1949 3rd highest
Motueka, Riwaka 131 79 1965 2nd lowest
Blenheim Research 130 77 1986 Lowest
Mt. Cook Village 47 53 1930 Lowest
Dargaville 153 138 1943 Highest
Hamilton, Ruakura 161 134 1936 2nd equal highest
Mt Cook Village 109 144 1930 Equal highest
Lake Tekapo 200 184 1928 Highest
Dunedin, Musselburgh 145 143 1948 2nd highest
Dargaville 170 126 1943 2nd highest
Auckland, Mangere 194 136 1963 Highest
New Plymouth Airport 191 124 1973 2nd highest
Dunedin, Musselburgh 203 138 1948 Highest
Dargaville 127 76 1943 2nd lowest
Stratford 135 79 1963 2nd lowest
Palmerston North 93 63 1930 Lowest
Paraparaumu Airport 125 71 1953 3rd lowest
Auckland, Mangere 238 124 1963 Highest
Kaitaia 169 1-day missing 77 1985 2nd Lowest
Auckland, Mangere 174 83 1963 3rd lowest
Taumarunui 130 71 1947 3rd lowest
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