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National Climate Summary – April 2005

NATIONAL CLIMATE CENTRE
SUNDAY 1 MAY 2005

National Climate Summary – April 2005

Rainfall: Below average over much of New Zealand, especially Northland, Auckland, Coromandel, Bay of Plenty, Nelson and central Marlborough, with significant soil moisture deficits still present
Sunshine: Above average in most regions, with records in Northland, Auckland, Nelson and Dunedin
Temperature: Cooler in the lower North lsland and much of the South Island

April 2005 was exceptionally dry and very sunny month overall, with less than 25 percent of normal rainfall and near or record low rainfall totals in parts of Northland, Auckland, Coromandel, Bay of Plenty, Nelson and central Marlborough. Many locations in these regions recorded rainfall totals of less than 10 mm for the whole month. There was only 1 day in April with rainfall totalling at least 1.0 mm in both Whangarei and Nelson. Above normal rainfall occurred only in a few coastal areas of Hawke’s Bay and Wairarapa, and Central Otago. Severe soil moisture deficits occurred in Northland, with significant deficits in Auckland, Horowhenua, the Kapiti coast, Marlborough, and parts of Canterbury. Much of Northland has had only 20 to 30 mm of rainfall since the end of February. April’s sunshine hours were well above average for most, with new April record totals in Northland, Auckland, Nelson and Dunedin. While it was warmer than normal in parts of Northland, mean temperatures were below average south of Waikato and Gisborne, and in much of the South Island. The cooler conditions were due to frequent clear nights, along with cold southerly outbreaks toward the end of April. The national average temperature for April was 12.5°C (0.7°C below normal). With the passage of active fronts on 23rd and 24th, a vigorous cold southerly air-mass brought wintry conditions to the south and east, and snow settled on the North Island’s Desert Road, the Rimutaka Hill Road, and as low as 400 metres in the South Island. During April, anticyclones (‘highs’) were often centred west of New Zealand during April, with more frequent southerlies over the North Island. Apart from ANZAC weekend, depressions occurred well away to the south or east of the country.

Highlights:
The highest temperature during April 2005 was 27.3°C recorded at Henderson (Auckland) on the 8th. The lowest temperature for the month was -5.8°C, recorded at Motu on the 29th.
A series of waterspouts were sighted off the Whangamata coast on the 1st. A small tornado was sighted in Greymouth on the 4th.
Fog and low cloud closed Wellington Airport from late afternoon to the evening on the 12th.
Major thunderstorms affected southern and eastern regions during the night of 23/24 and evening of 24 April, with lightning, wind squalls, and large hail stones, followed by wintry conditions.
Of the four main centres Auckland was easily the warmest, sunniest and driest. Rainfall was below average in all four main centres. Temperatures were near average in Auckland and below average in Wellington, Christchurch and Dunedin. Sunshine hours were well above average in Auckland and Dunedin, and below average in the other main centres.

Rainfall: Rainfall was well below average (less than 25 percent of normal) throughout much of Northland, parts of Auckland, Coromandel, Bay of Plenty, Nelson and central Marlborough. Totals were less than 50 percent of normal in Waikato, Taranaki, Marlborough, Buller, Westland and Fiordland, and also below normal in the west of the North Island from Wanganui to Wellington as well as Ruapehu, Tongariro and coastal areas of both Southland and Otago. Rainfall was at least 125 percent of normal in scattered coastal areas of Hawke’s Bay, Wairarapa and Central Otago.
Sunshine: Sunshine hours were at least 120 percent of average in parts of Northland, Auckland, Nelson, Westland, inland south Canterbury, Southland, and Otago. New April records totals occurred in Northland, Auckland, Nelson and Dunedin. It was also sunnier than average in most other regions. Hours of bright sunshine were near average in South Taranaki.
Temperature: Mean temperatures were above average in parts of Northland. However, they were below average throughout the lower North Island, as well as in Buller, north Westland, and eastern South Island regions from Marlborough to Southland. Mean temperatures were more than 1.0°C below average in parts of Horowhenua, Kapiti, Wairarapa, Marlborough, and inland Southland. Temperatures were near average elsewhere.

For further information, please contact:
Dr Jim Salinger – Principal Scientist – Climate, NIWA National Climate Centre, Auckland,
Tel. (09) 375 2053, or (027) 521 9468 (mobile)
Stuart Burgess – Climatologist – NIWA National Climate Centre, Wellington, Tel. (04) 386 0569

BELOW AVERAGE RAINFALL OVER MUCH OF NEW ZEALAND, ESPECIALLY
NORTHLAND, AUCKLAND, COROMANDEL, BAY OF PLENTY, TARANAKI, NELSON, CENTRAL MARLBOROUGH AND INLAND SOUTH CANTERBURY

Rainfall was less than 25 percent of normal throughout much of Northland, parts of Auckland, Coromandel, Bay of Plenty, Nelson and central Marlborough, with many locations recording totals less than 10 mm. Totals were less than 50 percent of normal in Waikato, Taranaki, Marlborough, Buller, Westland and Fiordland, and less than 75 percent of normal rainfall in the west of the North Island from Wanganui to Wellington as well as Ruapehu, Tongariro and coastal areas of both Southland and Otago. Rainfall was 125 percent or more of normal in scattered coastal areas of Hawke’s Bay, Wairarapa and Central Otago, and near average elsewhere.

Near or record low April rainfall was recorded at:

Location April
rainfall
(mm) Percentage
Of normal Year
Records began Comments
Cape Reinga 10 9 1920 2nd lowest
Kaitaia Observatory 17 13 1986 2nd lowest
Kerikeri EWS 21 16 1982 Lowest
Kerikeri Airport 11 9 1978 Lowest
Kaikohe 13 10 1973 Lowest
Dargaville 30 30 1943 3rd equal lowest
Whangarei Airport 5 4 1937 Lowest
Mokohinau Island 13 9 1935 3rd lowest
Warkworth 22 19 1972 Lowest
Whangaparaoa AWS 24 30 1987 2nd lowest
Auckland, Owairaka 20 19 1949 2nd lowest
Whitianga Airport 13 10 1991 Lowest
Paeroa 19 18 1914 2nd lowest
Matamata, Hinuera 13 13 1999 Lowest
Tauranga Airport 14 13 1898 2nd lowest
Te Puke 22 16 1973 2nd lowest
Whakatane Airport 5 6 1975 Lowest
Rotorua Airport 10 9 1964 2nd lowest
Taupo Airport 18 27 1976 Lowest
Motu 26 16 1991 Lowest
Auckland, Mangere 11 11 1959 Lowest
Auckland Airport 21 22 1963 2nd equal lowest
Stratford 43 27 1961 Lowest
Takaka 5 3 1971 Lowest
Farewell Spit 5 5 1874 Lowest
Lake Rotoiti 17 12 1934 Lowest
Franz Josef 118 27 1983 2nd lowest
Stephens Island 4 6 1894 Lowest
Motueka, Riwaka 7 6 1943 3rd lowest
Nelson Airport 5 5 1941 Equal lowest
Nelson, Appleby 3 4 1932 Lowest
Blenheim Research 5 12 1986 2nd lowest
Blenheim Airport 6 9 1941 2nd lowest
Awatere Valley 17 28 2001 Lowest

Near record high April rainfall was recorded at:

Location April
Rainfall (mm) Percentage
of normal Year
records began Comments
Chatham Islands 153 219 1951 2nd highest

WELL ABOVE AVERAGE SUNSHINE IN THROUGHOUT MUCH OF NEW ZEALAND

Sunshine hours were at least 120 percent of average in parts of Northland, Auckland, Nelson, Westland, inland south Canterbury, Southland, and Otago, and at least 110 percent of average in most other regions. Hours of bright sunshine were near average in South Taranaki. New record April totals occurred in Northland, Auckland, Nelson and Dunedin.

High April sunshine hours were recorded at:

Location April sunshine
(hours) Percentage
of normal Year
Records began Comments
Kaitaia Observatory(28 days) 187 117 1986 Highest
Dargaville 184 134 1944 Highest
Auckland, Mangere 223 141 1963 Highest
Nelson Airport 246 131 1949 Highest
Mt Cook Village 151 127 1930 Well above average
Lake Tekapo 226 142 1928 2nd highest
Dunedin, Musselburgh 179 148 1948 Highest
Invercargill Airport 140 127 1964 Well above average

WARMER IN PARTS OF NORTHLAND, COOLER THROUGHOUT THE LOWER NORTH ISLAND AND MUCH OF THE SOUTH ISLAND

Mean temperatures were about 0.5°C above average in parts of Northland. However, they were at least 0.5°C below average throughout the lower North Island, south of Waikato and Gisborne, as well as in Buller, north Westland, and eastern South Island regions from Marlborough to Southland. Mean temperatures were more than 1.0°C below average in parts of Horowhenua, Kapiti, Wairarapa, Marlborough, and inland Southland. Mean temperatures were near average elsewhere.

Near or record low April mean air temperatures were recorded at:

Location Mean temperature Departure from average (°C) Records
Began Comments
Castlepoint 12.9 -2.1 1972 3rd lowest
East Taratahi 11.7 -1.7 1973 Well below average

APRIL’S CLIMATE IN THE FOUR MAIN CENTRES

Of the four main centres Auckland was easily the warmest, sunniest and driest. Rainfall was below average in all four main centres. Temperatures were near average in Auckland and below average in Wellington, Christchurch and Dunedin. Sunshine hours were well above average in Auckland and Dunedin, and below average in the other main centres. The Auckland total was a new record.

Location April
Mean
Temp.
(°C) Dep.
from normal
(°C)
April
rainfall
(mm) % of
normal
April Sunshine
(hours) % of
normal
Auckland 16.1a -0.1 Near average 20b 19 Well below average 223a 141 Highest

Wellington 12.9 -0.9 Below average 44 44 Below average 183 118 Above average
Christchurch 11.2c -1.0 Below average 22c 43 Below average 194 121 Above average
Dunedin 11.5 -0.4 Below average 30 50 Below average 179 148 Highest
a-Mangere b Mt Albert c Christchurch Airport


HIGHLIGHTS AND EXTREME EVENTS


Temperature
The highest temperature during April 2005 was 27.3°C recorded at Henderson (Auckland) on the 8th. The lowest temperature for the month was -5.8°C, recorded at Motu on the 29th, the 2nd lowest there for April since records commenced in 1991. Severe ground frost occurred in Canterbury on the 26th.

High winds
The highest wind gust recorded during April 2005 was 174 km/h from the northwest, measured at Southwest Cape (Stewart Island) on the 3rd.

Waterspouts and a Tornado
A series of waterspouts were sighted off the Whangamata coast on the 1st. A small tornado was sighted in Greymouth on the 4th.

Fog
Wellington Airport was closed briefly, due to fog, from late afternoon through evening on the 12th.

Southerly storms: Lightning, hail, high winds, and rough seas
Thunderstorms affected southern and eastern regions, accompanied by extensive lightning, wind squalls, and large hail stones, along with wintry low temperatures following the passage active the frontal bands during the night of 23/24 and evening of 24 April. Southerly gales resulted in rough seas through Cook Strait. Snowfall settled on the North Island’s Desert Road, the Rimutaka Hill Road, and as low as 400 metres in the South Island.

ENDS

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